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News Archives for 2018-12

Wiese back in as deadline looms for council races

Algoma will apparently not have to rely on a write-in candidate to fill the District 2 seat, as Jacque Wiese rescinded her papers for non-candidacy and has taken out papers with plans to return them on Wednesday, according to City Clerk Jamie Jackson.  Mitch Groesel has turned in his nomination papers for his third district seat, as well as fourth district alderperson Lee Dachelet.


Kewaunee’s incumbent council members Art Schiller, Jeff Dworak, and David Kuehl are poised to make returns to their seats with Joe Mills replacing John Griffith in the third district.  Dworak, Kuehl, and Mills turned in their nomination papers on Monday, according to City Clerk Terri Decur.   


Nomination papers are due back by 5 p.m. Wednesday. 


Sturgeon Bay’s city clerk office could not be reached on Wednesday afternoon for an update.   

Facebook post promising better access to friends is likely a hoax

If your Facebook feed shows a post indicating you can override the system's algorithm to make your posts visible to more than 25 friends, a local computer expert says don't take it at face value.  Nathan Drager, co-owner of Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay, says Facebook does have algorithms that help tailor pages, ads and feeds to your interests.  He says that's to eliminate information flow overload.  Drager says he finds it hard to believe, however, that Facebook on its own would attempt to limit how many friends see your posts.



Drager says such posts seem to increase every time Facebook makes changes to its services that prove to be unpopular to some users.

How former analog TV frequencies are improving rural broadband internet

Rural areas like Door and Kewaunee counties could get consistent access to broadband internet via the frequencies that local television stations gave up after converting to digital broadcasts in 2009.  The process is called TV White Space delivery.  Cory Heigl, Vice-President of Packerland Broadband in Iron Mountain, Michigan, says the process allows wireless broadband signals to be received clearly in hilly or wooded terrains.  Heigl says TV White Space is already working in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin.



Heigl says while wireless broadband is not a new concept the previous systems were based on line-of-sight.  Those were subject to blocking by obstructions like buildings and trees or hilly terrain.

College champion hockey coach says growing the sport in Door County is challenging

Door County could become a haven for amateur hockey with the right facilities and determination from local communities.   That's Joe Baldarotta's belief and goal.  Baldarotta is a retired collegiate hockey coach who won the 1993 NCAA Division III hockey championship at U-W Stevens Point and trained Olympic-caliber players at Lake Placid, New York.  He now manages the community ice rink at Sister Bay, which is an outdoor facility subject to the right winter conditions.  Baldrotta says there is interest in hockey at all age levels here and the ability to make artificial ice could help grow that interest.



Baldarotta says milder conditions over the past several winters have made it impossible to make ice in December at the Sister Bay rink.  The same holds true for the only other Door County rink in Sturgeon Bay.


(Photo courtesy: Theresa K. Hilander Community Ice Rink FaceBook page)

Engagement key to student success

While school districts across the country toy with ideas like later start times, shorter days, and less homework to help with student achievement, Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart thinks they already have the best one working for them right now. Cochart says the traditional model is turning into a race to complete what is required. He believes student-led initiatives like Live Algoma, its Pups and Wolves mentoring program, and the new “school within a school” Beta project is helping to drive more success. Cochart says the focus for his staff is to determine how to make the time and the space they have with their students more authentic.

Alternative ideas for driving student success could be on the table down the road according to Cochart, but says it is tough to balance as some students still identify with the traditional school schedule while others do not. 

Village of Egg Harbor moving forward on beach improvements

Beach improvements are on the agenda of the first meeting for 2019 of the Village of Egg Habor Parks and Public Works Committee.  The village plans to spend nearly $500,000 for expansion of the municipal beach. That would improve access and nearby parking.  Committee Chair Lisa Van Laanen says the village will take the steps to ensure work is done before the tourism season begins.



Van Laanen says the village plans to start work in March and end before Memorial Day weekend.  The Park and Public Works Committee meets Wednesday at 8:30 AM at the Donald & Carol Kress Pavilion on Church Road in Egg Harbor.

Kewaunee County Food Pantry's second Karsten Hotel contents sale a success

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry had another successful day selling the contents of the former Karsten Hotel on Sunday.  The new owners of the hotel property donated all contents to the pantry to keep or sell as it pleases.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says the sale went better than expected.



The third Karsten Hotel contents sale takes place Sunday, January 6th from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM at the hotel on Ellis Street in Kewaunee.  That will also be the final day that people can bid on antiques including a pair of hutches, an organ from the 1800s and various sofas also from the 1800s.   

Farmers concerned about aid payments from USDA

The government shutdown has some farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties worried about when they will receive much-needed aid payments. Over 230 operations in Door and Kewaunee counties are due money from the United States Department of Agriculture from a $9.5 billion program aimed at mitigating the effect of retaliatory tariffs for several commodities. The shutdown is expected to put those payments on hold. Dave Jauquet’s farm, Jauquet Hillview Dairy in Luxemburg, is expecting a payment of almost $12,000 from the USDA. He says waiting for the payment will not make or break his operation, but understands many farmers could use the extra money.

According to information acquired by the Environmental Working Group, farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties will receive USDA payments ranging from over $81,000 to just $13. Jauquet says a good relationship with their lender and a revolving line of credit will help his farm and family get through another tough year for the dairy industry. 

Financial goals important step for New Year

Sturgeon Bay financial counselor Gay Pustaver says the New Year is a great opportunity to examine what worked and what needs improvement for financial success. For those who do not know where to begin, financial counseling might be a good first step. Pustaver says setting up an appointment with Money Management Counselors is not about judging about what you may have done in the past.

Services start with a one-time fee that can be waived if you can prove financial hardship. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.



Surrounding area key to Shrine's growth

Without understanding neighbors in Kewaunee County or hotel rooms in the surrounding area like Door County, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion may have struggled with the growth it has seen in recent years. Its 1941 chapel seats 300 people, but since the Shrine’s designation as a Marian apparition site in 2010, it routinely welcomes over 150,000 pilgrims every year. Shrine rector Father of Mercy John Broussard says its growth is dependent on its local community.

The Shrine is in the midst of building a new Prayer and Worship Center designed to hold up to 1,200 people as it prepares to welcome even more pilgrims to the Champion site that dates back 160 years.

First Day Hike at Peninsula State Park canceled

People looking to start the New Year with the Friends of Peninsula State Park's First Day Hike will have to kick off 2019 another way.  The group's board of directors decided not to hold the First Day Hike because of staffing issues.  Board member David Lea says an inadequate number park employees created some problems with last year's hike.



Lea also says there were not enough volunteers available to help out.  So this year's tradition had to give way to safety concerns.

Winter weather crashes New Year's Eve

Traveling to and from New Year's festivities in Door and Kewaunee counties will be dicey thanks to a Winter Weather Advisory for the area beginning at noon today. Three to five inches is expected to fall during the storm, with the heaviest periods taking place between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. The National Weather Service expects travel conditions to deteriorate throughout the afternoon until early Tuesday morning.  

Washington Island sees success in drug take back campaign

The Washington Island Police Department has put forth a positive effort toward stopping prescription painkiller abuse in the area. The police department participated in the Dose of Reality campaign, a program that asks donors to give up their unused painkiller medication to any of several drop-off points in the state. Wisconsin has been one of the most active states involved with the cause, collecting 68,016 pounds of drugs in October alone and finishing second only behind California. Chief of Police Tyler McGrane said while their contributions weren’t as large as the biggest participating communities, it’s more about putting forth a good cause.



Washington Island as a community turned in 30 pounds of drugs over the course of the year, with over half coming in the month of April. The Dose of Reality campaign will continue into 2019, with both the Washington Island and Sturgeon Bay Police Departments announcing campaign dates in the near future.

Kewaunee County Historical Society using donations to expand collection

The Kewaunee County Historical Society has been relying less on physical volunteers in favor of frequent donations of artifacts and other pieces of history to build the society’s collection. Although there are volunteers who help during the summer months, Richard Dorner, director of the History Center at the society, said there aren’t that many that help out at either the center or the museum. Instead, he said most choose to help through financial contributions.



Some of the more popular exhibits Dorner pointed out as being donated to the facility by volunteers include several military uniforms and autographed pictures from every past United States President from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan. The Kewaunee County Historical Society is taking January off but will return with several events planned for 2019.

Sturgeon Bay skatepark building a community

Skateboarders in the Door County area have no worries about having a place to perform their craft. The Friends of Sturgeon Bay Skate Park has built a small community dedicated to the upkeep and maintenance of the outdoor facility. Consistent rain and snow can create ice puddles and drag leaves into the bowls, and graffiti can leave a lasting mark. However, the park remains clean and continues to stand out thanks to the effort of local skateboarders eager to do what they love. Paul Fruzyna, one of the co-chairs of the Friends of Sturgeon Bay Skate Park, said his second job of keeping the skate park clean has become official after a new city policy was set in place.



The skate park is the only one of its kind in Door County. Fruzyna said people from all over the area come to skate, even from as far away as Minneapolis and Chicago.

Algoma Public Library educating adults on Facebook

The Algoma Public Library is holding an event for adults on how to set up and properly use Facebook.  The event is for those who either don’t know how to set up a Facebook profile or don’t know what to do with their account. Katie Haasch, Adult Services Librarian at the Algoma Public Library, said social media is an important skill to learn for those who want to connect to the world outside of their town.



Facebook is one of the premier ways for those who have distant friends or relatives to reconnect. The event will be held Tuesday, January 22nd at 1 p.m. at the Algoma Public Library.

Sturgeon Bay post office sees more package returns post-Christmastime

The Sturgeon Bay post office sends plenty of packages out the week before Christmas, but the staff often finds themselves sending more packages back the week after.  Although the number of returns is often steady year-round, there is a noticeable spike in the week or two following the holidays. Postmaster Don Erdmann said the biggest issue people have when returning packages is remembering to insure the contents inside.



Packages returned must have postage paid on them. Erdmann said that most vendors will include a label of some sort to assist in case of a desired refund and return and added that the post office is always available during business hours to help with any questions regarding sending or returning packages.

Senior citizens at risk of social security scams

Senior citizens are among those most targeted by cellphone and email scams. Common scams include posing as a Social Security Administration employee and telling the recipient that benefits will be taken away upon non-payment, or even posing as a loved one and informing their target that they have gotten in trouble and need financial assistance to help them out. Jake Erickson, the director of the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Door County, said scammers will almost always attempt to apply pressure on their target.




Erickson recommended waiting and taking action only after assurance that the call or email is legit, and said the ADRC can provide assistance for those who have concerns or questions about potential scams.

ODBS offering year-round tours by appointment

The Open Door Bird Sanctuary officially ended its 2018 season back in September, but the organization continues to offer tours year-round through appointment. The sanctuary kicked off the new program this year and saw great success, holding about two dozen tours outside normal business hours. Jillaine Burton Seefeldt, CFO of the sanctuary, said the year-round tours provide an opportunity for those who don’t normally get a chance to visit during the regular season.



The out-of-season tours also feature very few changes from tours held in-season.



Those interested in making an appointment for a guided tour may contact Executive Director Rob Hults. The ODBS will reopen for its 2019 season next June.

Insulation vital to keeping home warm during winter months

Door and Kewaunee homeowners spending too much on their heating bill this winter might find proper insulation to be the solution to their problems. Insufficient insulation in the home can result in both warm air escaping and cold air entering through walls and windows, forcing heaters to overwork and running up costs. Eli Phillips, owner of Alpha Through Omega Construction in Casco, said he does free estimates for those worried about potential issues within their home.



Phillips mentioned not all insulation problems require a contractor for a fix, although he would recommend at least calling one in for an estimate if the insulation problem is occurring within walls or windows. He said his company and other local contractors might be able to provide a temporary fix until a decision toward making the next step is made.

DNR had successful 2018 year

Hunters and boaters seemed to be listening to the rules and regulations the DNR put out in 2018. Chris Kratcha is the Game Warden for the DNR stationed in Sturgeon Bay and he says there were no major hunting, boating, or ATV/UTV accidents reported in the last year. Kratcha said it was a banner year when it came to outdoor safety.



Kratcha added that people should be patient with going out on the ice since the temperatures have not been consistently below freezing yet. 

Little Lake restoration playing waiting game

The Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay is trying to receive grants to continue the restoration of Little Lake. Rotary Club Member Roger Anderson says the city of Sturgeon Bay applied for grants in 2018 but was rejected. The restoration of Little Lake needs at least $1.5 million to remove the soft sediment according to the Sturgeon Bay Rotary's website. Ideally $3.5 to $4 million is needed to remove the soft and hard sediment to deepen the lake and improve the fish habitat. Anderson says the new city council is not as supportive of the restoration as the old one.



Little Lake had gotten smaller over the years due to two nearby sawmills dumping into the lake. The restoration of the lake started back in 2008. 

The alternatives to cigarettes?

Chromium, Nickel, Zinc and Lead are not just elements from Chemistry class. These are toxic metals that many students are breathing in every day. None of these metals, especially lead, are safe to consume.

In Southern Door, an increased number of students are abusing E-Cigarettes. Vaping is more common than smoking tobacco cigarettes at this high school. It has come to the point where posters about vaping are hung in the hallways, classrooms, and bathrooms. Students are continually using vapes while the school finds initiatives to reduce the numbers.

Many teens transfer, or begin to, vape because they think it's the safer option. That's the question: Is vaping safer than smoking cigarettes? Well, what mainly sets vaping aside from cigarettes, besides the electronic casing, is the lack of tobacco. Tobacco is cancer causing, but that is not the only cancerous ingredient that is held in these addictive traps.

E-Cigarettes are not fully regulated, so not all that vape juice contains is listed on the box. When vaping, water is not what is being consumed. E-Cigarettes contain an E-Liquid that turns to an aerosol with each breath in. If this isn't enough, nicotine, too, is held in each inhale.

Vaping under the age of 21 is illegal. Before your next drag, think about what you are actually consuming and the consequences involved.

Solitary time can reduce stress from the holidays

Door County YMCA's offer some stress relief after the holidays. The "Y" has many yoga and tai chi classes available to help get you active and relaxed. Mary Claire McHugh is the Senior Program Director at the YMCA in Sturgeon Bay and she says for many the people, the holidays are a very stressful time and it's good to take some time for yourself. McHugh is happy to see that stress reduction is becoming a priority for people. 



McHugh has seen an increase in people coming in since Christmas. She added that using screens to try to relax is not as effective as other ways, as there can be as many stressors on your screen as there are in your real life.

Newport State Park first day hike

Newport State Park in Ellison Bay wants you to have an active start to 2019. On January 1st at 9:00 AM, they will be hosting a First Day Hike along with other Wisconsin state parks. Michelle Hefty, Newport State Park Manager, says it's a great way to start off the new year being active. 



Hefty is happy the trails will probably not be too covered in snow and should make for great hiking. After the hike, participants are invited to the park office for coffee, hot chocolate, and hot cider. 

Low gas prices fueling higher sales for Jandu Petroleum

The low gas prices mean better business for Jandu Petroleum stations in Door County. The price for regular unleaded gas is $1.99 per gallon as of Saturday morning. Parv Jandu, President of Jandu Petroleum, says more people have been fueling up at the pumps recently. Jandu says people drive more when prices are this low. He knows that when prices inevitably go back up, people will not be happy about even a small increase.



Jandu says he can't recollect a time when gas prices were this cheap. According to energy experts, the price of oil is down almost half of what it was in June. They say gas prices may continue to drop through New Years.

Child care worker shortage in Door County

There is a shortage of child care workers in Door County and across the state of Wisconsin. Childcare is often a big expense for families and many cannot afford to pay a premium price. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer, the Education and Community Relationship Coordinator at Northern Door Children's Center in Sister Bay, says the NDCC tries to keep their childcare services affordable to families. This means, like most childcare centers, they can't afford to pay someone a higher wage, even though all licensed childcare workers must have a four-year degree in Early Childhood Education. Corekin-DeLaMer says the Northern Door Children's Center is lucky they now have a full staff but the process to get there was a long one.



Corekin-DeLaMar added that many childcare centers are doing great work in the community and workers deserve to be paid a living wage.

Holiday hunting season

Door and Kewaunee Counties are participating in this year's holiday hunt due to the increasing deer numbers. The holiday hunting season is in effect until January 1st. Only antler-less deer can be hunted during this period. Counties have the option of participating in the holiday hunt if there are excess deer in an area. Chris Kratcha is the Conservation Warden stationed in Sturgeon Bay and he explains how each county decides whether or not to add optional hunting seasons.



Door County also decided to extend the archery season to January 31st because of the excess deer, while Kewaunee County did not.


Door County Sheriff warns of new scam

The Door County Sheriff's Department is warning citizens of an aggressive email phishing scam. People have been getting emails saying it's from Netflix asking to update their information and it has caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty from the Door County Sheriff's Department tells that they have not received any reports from Door County citizens, but the department is aware of the FTC warning. McCarty says if you get an email from Netflix, you should take an extra step before submitting any of your information.



The chief deputy says he's seen this before with other big companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon. McCarty added that if you think you may have received one of these phishing emails or have given your information away, you can call the Door County Sheriff's Department or the FTC to report it.

Tourism and transportation on wish list for Wiswell

With Governor-elect Tony Evers set to be inaugurated on January 7, one local city administrator would like the tourism and transportation issues addressed.  Algoma City Administrator Jeff Wiswell is calling for civility between lawmakers as the new governor takes office. 



 Wiswell says shore side communities like Algoma are at a disadvantage when they can only draw tourism from three directions.  He adds that he admires Ever’s approach of holding listening sessions the past few weeks.      

Door-Tran needs more volunteer drivers

Door-Tran is looking for more people willing to donate their time and the use of their vehicles to help those with few other options to get around.  The volunteers would help people get to doctors appointments or other commitments in Door, Kewaunee and Brown Counties.  Volunteer Coordinator Kim Gilson explains why more volunteer drivers are needed and what they can expect.



Volunteer drivers must have a clean driving record and will undergo a background check.  Those who are selected receive 50-cents a mile and are also reimbursed for meals purchased when their total travel time takes four-hours or more.

Gallagher, Johnson look ahead to 2019

Digging out from a government shutdown will get most of their attention in the coming days, but U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and Rep. Mike Gallagher hope to be able to tackle a number of issues in 2019. Rep. Gallagher, a Republican, will be in the minority party when new congressional members are sworn in on January 3rd. That does not mean he plans on changing his approach to the job.

Senator Johnson, also a Republican, retained his title as the chairperson of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. His focus is on security.

After meeting briefly on Thursday, the House and Senate will reconvene on Monday to try to end the partial government shutdown that began almost a week ago. 

Another Secret Treasure of Door County: The Dual Piano

When I first heard of the existence of a dual piano, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be two pianos spliced together like some of those homemade bicycles built for two? And why? Why even make a dual piano?


My questions were answered when I met the piano’s creator, Peter Nehlsen. Peter lives on Washington Island and invited me to see his unique piano at the Shepherd on the Bay Church in Ellison Bay. Peter, with help, had the piano hoisted on to a truck and made the ferry crossing. The piano is here at the church for special upcoming performances.


The idea for the dual piano came to Peter years ago but only recently did Peter find the time to put his inspiration to work. And when you examine Peter’s background you begin to understand just how qualified he is to be the one person in a long time to offer this unique musical device. For years, Peter tuned pianos. He even taught others how to tune pianos. He was so good that he was hired by Steinway to be their premier piano tuner. For over forty years he tuned hundreds and hundreds of pianos.  And while it’s easy to put two pianos side by side, the energy, the music, bounces off the floor. In a dual piano, with two sets of keyboards, one at each end, and two sets of strings, the energy flows up and offers more of a true stereophonic sound. That was what Peter wanted to accomplish; a clear, clean, unique sound.


And despite my initial skepticism, his dual piano looks amazingly sleek, sturdy and attractive.


The big test will be on February 9th at a special concert at the Shepherd on the Bay Church when two nationally renowned pianists will perform. But even with the little I heard with Peter playing, it promises to be spectacular. 




Land donation expands Chambers Island preserve to nearly 700 acres

The Chambers Island Nature Preserve has now grown to nearly 700 acres of hardwood forests and wetlands.  The Door County Land Trust announced the donation of nine-acres of land previously adjacent to the preserve by Pete and Fawn Rogers of Appleton.  Pete Rogers says he sees it as a gift for both people and wildlife.



Door County Land Trust Land Program Director Julie Shartner says such a donation is helping the group reach a lofty goal.



Schartner says the trust is working with other Chambers Island property owners and expects to acquire more lands in 2019.

(Photo Courtesy Julie Schartner Door County Land Trust)

Nationwide cellular phone outage impacts parts of Door County

Centurylink cellular and internet customers experienced service outages nationwide, including parts of Southern Door County.  The outages started early Thursday.  According to a Tweet from Centurylink, engineers had identified a "network element" that impacted services.  Door County Emergency Management and Communications Director Dan Kane says 911 calls made by cell phone in the Brussels area had to take an indirect route into the dispatch center.



The outage also impacted cellular 911 service to Oconto County.  The sheriff's department says those issues have been corrected.

Financial impact drops for Luxemburg-Casco School District residents

As the walls go up for new classrooms at its primary school, the financial impact of other referendum related projects is going down for Luxemburg-Casco School District residents. During its last board meeting held earlier this month, the district discussed the strategy and timing for the final borrowing for the referendum projects with its financial advisor. The tax levy rate increase came in at 70 cents per $1,000 of valuation, seven cents less than what was originally forecasted before the referendum was passed in April. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the referendum projects remain on budget with the groundbreaking for many of the high school projects slated for the late spring.

Schlender added the high school’s FFA chapter and the district are in the preliminary stages of planning a new agriscience building for the campus.

Southern Door senior reflects on trail to Eagle

Southern Door High School senior Alex Quigley will officially celebrate a major milestone in his life next month when he receives his Eagle Scout award. It has been a long time coming for Quigley, who joined Cub Scouts in 3rd grade and had his Eagle Scout Board of Review in May. Quigley’s project was rebuilding park benches at Sturgeon Bay’s Franke Park along with his fellow scouts from Brussels Lions Club Troop 1140. Seven ranks and over 30 merit badges later, Quigley remains humble about earning Eagle.

Quigley hopes to return to scouting someday as a leader, but in the meantime, he plans on graduating from Southern Door High School before hopefully joining the Air Force. 

Vandertie to be new Southern Door fire chief

 The Southern Door Fire Department will have a new fire chief starting in February.  Current Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar will be retiring and Gary Vandertie will assume the fire chief duties.  While Cihlar will still be staying on with the department, Vandertie, a 35 year veteran of the Southern Door Fire Department, is looking forward to his new position and helping his community. 



The Southern Door Fire Department provides services to the village and town of Forestville as well as the towns of Clay Banks and Nasewaupee.

Kewaunee County accident slows highway traffic

Motorists should add some time onto their commute Friday morning after an accident occurred in Kewaunee County on Highway 57. Dispatchers could not release much information but confirmed the accident took place on Highway 57 near County Road X, which is south of Red River County Park. Lanes remain open at this time, but traffic is expected to be slower through the area as emergency personnel tend to the scene. We will have more information available as it is released. 

Egg Harbor wants to map invasive species and develop an attack plan

The Village of Egg Harbor is looking to develop an invasive plant species attack strategy with help from Door County.  The village's Parks and Public Works Committee will meet January 2nd to discuss the possibility of contracting with the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department to map invasive species.  Committee Chair Lisa Van Laanen says knowing where the invasives are can help the village and individual property owners eradicate the weeds.



The Parks and Public Works Committee meets Wednesday, January 2nd at 8:30 AM in the Donald and Carol Kress Pavillion-History Center on Church Road in Egg Harbor.

Mill Supper Club being sold

The Mill Supper Club in Sturgeon Bay will be under new ownership next month.  Owned by three generations of Petersilkas since 1963, Don, Jr. and his wife Shelly will be selling the business to Cory Lehman on January 15 after running the Mill Supper Club for the last 27 years.  Don Petersilka says the transition should be smooth since Lehman worked at the Mill Supper Club in the past.  



 Lehman, 38, who started working at the Mill when he was 14 years old, says he does not plan on making many changes. 



Lehman plans on adding German cuisine to the menu which is still a work in progress.  He says the Mill Supper Club will be closed for a short time after the closing on January 15 for some minor renovations.

Holiday duty quiet and productive for Washington Island Police

Like other Wisconsin law enforcement agencies,  the two officers on the Washington Island Police Department make sure people are celebrating the holidays smartly and safely.  Chief Tyler McGrane says that's fairly easy because, unlike summer, the nearly 24-square mile or nearly 61-square kilometer island attracts only a few familiar visitors who share a familiar winter hang out.


Chief McGrane says he and Officer Gary Schultz do have events like the New Year's Day Polar Bear plunge at Schoolhouse Beach and a trap shoot at the Sportsman's Club.  Once those events are done, McGrane and Schultz make the best of their wintertime routine.


That's because such training sessions and time off become rare during summer vacation season.

Kewaunee County taking time with jail study

Kewaunee County officials would rather do the job right than complete it quickly when it comes to creating its new jail. Two companies, Venture and Stollo, have reached out to the county since the Request for Qualifications was released earlier this year. It is the first step in a multi-phase approach that includes looking into the facility’s operational programming and its schematic design. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says the deliberate pace of the process is on purpose.

The new facility would replace the current jail that is the state’s oldest and smallest. According to the minutes from the latest Law Enforcement/Emergency Management Committee meeting, Kewaunee County could be $60,000 over budget when it comes to its Board of Prisoners line due to housing additional inmates in Door and Oconto counties. You can read the rest of Sheriff Matt Joski’s update on the jail online with this story.  


I thought I would take a moment to provide an update to our efforts in regards to the study of our current jail facility. I had reported a few weeks ago that we had developed a request for qualifications (RFQ) which was subsequently made public and responded to by various consultant organizations. Currently we have two companies who are interested in assisting us in our journey to determine the best options for how we provide not just housing but services to those who are remanded to our care. As you might remember we broke down the process into three phases. The First Phase will be a needs assessment which will focus on our current data, facilities, and services providing a comprehensive picture of not only where we are as a justice community but also where we may find ourselves in the years to come. This will involve looking at everything from current regulations and statutory requirements to an evaluation of our current staffing.


     The second Phase would focus on operational programming. This to me is the most exciting of the three phases as it begins to incorporate the latest in criminal justice reforms, programming as well as alternatives to incarceration. It is through the effective application of these philosophies that we can have not only an impact on the scope and size of the possible facility, but more importantly to make a real difference in the lives of those who find themselves involved in our local criminal justice system. Ultimately the goal of any correctional facility should be to change behavior so as to transition individuals from a life of bad decisions to a life of good decisions. In order to do this we must look at each and every one of them as individual human beings with unique experiences which have lead them to their current reality. This may involve approaching them from an addiction treatment perspective, a mental health matter, or a skills development need. It may also involve a new approach known as trauma informed care.


       The third and final phase is the actual schematic design of a potential facility. The successful execution of this phase in crucial because it will set the stage for all future efficiencies in regards to operations and staffing. Although this is usually the phase that gets the most attention due to the fact that there are actually architectural renditions and visual aids, it is truly the byproduct of our ability to be effective in the first two phases. This phase will also incorporate the discussion regarding the site selection for the facility. Again this specific consideration is extremely important not only from an effective facility planning perspective, but also from a community support perspective. Just as any of us want to be good neighbors to those near our homes, this facility should also be something that the entire community can be very proud of.


         It is anticipated that a consultant will be chosen in the next few weeks and with the selection we can begin a process that I am confident will result in not just a new facility, but even more importantly an improved ability to change lives for the better and ultimately result in a greater sense of self worth and dignity for those whom we interact with daily throughout our criminal justice system. For those who may have any questions on this process as well as questions about our current facility, I welcome any chance to discuss or even provide a tour of our current jail. I can always be reached at (920)388-7177.

Sheriff's Department warns of scam targeting church members

Door County church members are being targeted by an email scam.  The Door County Sheriff's Department was notified of an email to a member of a local church from an alleged priest seeking donations.  Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the email was written to appeal to a person's sense of Christmas generosity.



The email recipient brought it to their minister who then contacted the sheriff's office.  McCarty says, so far, nobody in Door County has been taken by the scam.

Lack of cold weather stymies skaters at Sister Bay rink

Those hoping to get in some skating time over the holidays in Sister Bay have been benched by mother nature.  Milder temperatures have made it impossible to make ice at the outdoor Theresa K. Hilander Community Ice Rink.  Joe Baldarrota, who manages the rink, says activities that are popular during a normal winter holiday season are at the mercy of the elements this year.


Baldarotta says he can't remember when this winter's overnight temperatures fell below 20-degrees.  That makes it impossible to make and keep ice.   



(Photo Courtesy Facebook)

Polar Bear Swim plunges money into non-profits

Swimmers may only be in the water for mere minutes Tuesday, but the impact of the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club swim on local non-profits goes on much longer. The swim itself started on a dare more than 30 years ago. Recently, bone broth sales and freewill donations have given valuable funds for Feed and Clothe My People and the Jacksonport Volunteer Fire Department. The Northern Door Cloverleaf 4-H club will also get into the act by hosting a pancake breakfast to benefit Adopt-a-Soldier and a fund to support Sevastopol secretary Paula Symons’ battle against cancer.  Club founder J.R. Jarosh is happy the community is rallying around the event.

Though the main draw of swimming in Lake Michigan does not start until noon, the pancake breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. before the event’s official kickoff at 10:30 a.m. at Lakeside Park in Jacksonport. 

Ferry powers through weather in 2018

Final numbers are not in yet for the year, but Washington Island Ferry President Hoyt Purinton believes ridership in 2018 will be comparable to the past. Two big snow storms in April gave the ferry line a late start on the season while the rain and cold dampened travel near the end of the fall. Purinton says they were able to make up for it in the peak season.

The lack of ice on the water will make travel smoother than usual across Death’s Door over the next few weeks, even after the Washington Island Ferry dips down to two roundtrips daily beginning January 3rd

Antiques up for grabs at second Karsten Hotel sale

Some antiques from the Karsten Hotel basement will be up for grabs at the second sale to benefit the Kewaunee County Food Pantry. It's scheduled for Sunday, December 30th from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM at the hotel property on Ellis Street in Kewaunee.  The owners of the former hotel donated all of the contents of the building for the pantry to sell.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says there are some unique items being put up for bid this time.


The second sale at the Karsten Hotel will also include queen and king-sized bedding and all kitchen appliances and cookware.  Marquardt hopes this sale is as successful as the last one held on December 16th.  That raised about $8,000 for the food pantry.

No movement on council races as deadline looms

City clerks in Algoma, Kewaunee, and Sturgeon Bay say no new names have taken out nomination papers, but there are still many to be returned before Wednesday’s deadline.


Papers are still out in Sturgeon Bay for potential council candidates Ryan Herlache, Sarah Evenson, Sean Linnan, Laurel Hauser, and Dawn Goodban. A potential primary is possible in District 7 if Hauser and Herlache join Kirsten McFarlin on the ballot.


Algoma could have to rely on a write-in candidate to fill its open seat in District 2 after Jacque Wiese filed her non-candidacy papers earlier this month.


Kewaunee’s incumbent council members Art Schiller, Jeff Dworak, and David Kuehl are poised to make returns to their seats with Joe Mills replacing John Griffith in the third district.


Nomination papers are due back by 5 p.m. January 2nd

Sturgeon Bay post office returns to normal operations

The week before Christmas is easily one of the busiest times of the year for the Sturgeon Bay post office, but Postmaster Don Erdmann is pleased with how things proceeded this year.  Employing a full staff, Erdmann said a lack of weather issues and fantastic customers were big factors in keeping things from getting out of control. He also mentioned that while it was not a perfect week, major problems were kept to a minimum.



Erdmann said the post office was moving up to 2000 packages every day during the lead-up to Christmas, but following Christmas, that number has dropped to around 600.

Evergreen decorations infested with damaging insects

State plant officials are warning consumers to dispose wreaths and other evergreen decorations properly after inspections found invasive insects on sold items at large chain stores throughout the state recently.  According to a news release by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), inspectors found an insect called elongate hemlock scale (EHS) on wreaths, swags and other evergreen decorations.  DATCP spokesperson Donna Gilson explains the best way to prevent the invasive insect from causing damage to the environment. 



Gilson says the EHS does not kill trees but rather can weaken and makes them more susceptible to other pests and diseases.  Native to Asia, the elongated hemlock scale can affect over 40 different conifer species and is hard to control by pesticides. 

Canned foods and boots needed at Feed/Clothe My People

After the Christmas rush earlier this week, food pantries in Door and Kewaunee Counties are looking to refill their shelves for the upcoming New Year.  Estella Huff, director of operations at Feed and Clothe My People of Door County says canned goods and breakfast foods are an always welcomed donation. 



She adds that winter accessories like boots are needed, especially for kindergarten through fifth grade-age children.  Feed and Clothe My People of Door County is located on North 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay and is open four hours every weekday. 

A Sturgeon Bay pastor disagrees with a freedom of religion ruling in De Pere

A Sturgeon Bay pastor believes a Brown County judge went against biblical teachings in a freedom of religion case.  The judge ruled a De Pere ordinance banning discrimination against transgender individuals violated area churches freedom of religion.  That ordinance prohibited discrimination by landlords, employers and businesses based on gender identity or expression.  The churches involved in the case claimed following the ordinance went against their biblical beliefs and teachings.  But Reverend Richard Feyen, pastor of Hope United Church of Christ in Sturgeon Bay, says using scripture to defend discrimination against anyone also goes against biblical beliefs and teachings.



Reverend Feyen says he disagrees with pastoral leaders who use scripture specifically against the LGBTQ community. 

Town of Casco takes steps to replace 90-year old bridge

The Town of Casco is now able to move forward on replacing the Elm Road Bridge which was built in 1926.  The town is preparing for the design phase of the project. State and federal funding have been approved for the bridge replacement which will cost an estimated $640,000.  Town Chair Joe Lukes says under the funding formula the township would have to cover ten percent of the cost. 



The Elm Road Bridge project is on the agenda for the town board's Thursday night meeting.  The meeting starts at 6:00 PM at the Casco Town Hall.

Crossroads year in review

Crossroads at Big Creek saw more people attend their events and visit their facilities in 2018. The Sturgeon Bay preserve was able to increase the number of school groups throughout the year. Crossroads also hosted a number of new events in 2018 including Waterfest and Astronomy Day. Director Coggin Heeringa's favorite event of the year was Elementary Earth Day which helped children appreciate what water does for people. 



Crossroads at Big Creek is a non-profit organization educating people about nature.

Town of Forestville looks for right technology for broadband survey

The Town of Forestville is having trouble finding the right technology to complete a survey on improving internet access.  The Door County Economic Development Corporation is conducting the survey to help develop county-wide broadband service.  Town supervisor Larry Huber wanted to put a survey on the town's website so residents could easily respond and the information transferred to a spreadsheet.  Huber says, however, the technology that's been considered would create more work than the town clerk is able to handle.



So a town resident, who's a member of the DCEDC Technology Committee, will attend meetings with the DCEDC to get more information on the surveying process.

Kress Pavilion New Years Eve fundraiser

You can ring in the New Year and help raise money at the time. The Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor is hosting a New Years party and fundraiser at the Egg Harbor Community Center on December 31 at 7:00 PM. All the money raised will go to the Friends of the Pavilion which supports all the free programs that the Pavilion puts on during the year. Tickets are $50 which will include admission, food, and both alcoholic and non-alcholic drinks. Jess Reinke, property manager and event director at the Kress Pavilion, says this event is not just for adults. 



There will also be a live DJ playing only vinal records and a pianist playing covers. Some of the programs the Friends of the Pavilion will be funding in 2019 are the Egg Harbor Historical Society, reading to a therapy dog, and other book clubs. 

McCarty looking forward to serving Sternard as Chief Deputy

Door County Chief Deputy Sheriff Pat McCarty may have lost a race for sheriff but he’s happy to keep the number-two position he’s held for the past three years. When Sheriff-elect Tammy Sternard takes office in January the current administrative staff will remain in place.  McCarty says she informed him of her decision last week and that's sparked a lot of enthusiasm for the new administration.



McCarty says he and Sternard have talked regularly since the sheriff's race was decided.




(Photo Courtesy:

Pierce adds garbage curbside pickup

The Kewaunee County Town of Pierce will be starting garbage and recycling curbside pickup in 2019. According to Pierce Town Chair Brian Paplham, the town decided to start the curbside pickup because the Kewaunee County Landfill closed in 2018 and became a transfer station. 



In 2017, Pierce gauged the residents' interest about curbside pickup and it was met with mostly a negative response since it would have added $15 per month in taxes. After the landfill closed, however, the town agreed to pay the new garbage curbside pickup tax. The Town of West Kawaunee will also be adding garbage and recyling curbisde pickup starting in April.

Colombia potato growing at Crossroads in Sturgeon Bay

Crossroads at Big Creek is hosting a program where the University of Wisconsin and the USDA Potato Research Project grow and study a potato variety from Colombia. The University of Wisconsin and the USDA Potato Research Project are using the greenhouses at Crossroads to grow the potatoes. This is the fifth winter in a row that potatoes are being researched at Crossroads. Coggin Heeringa is the Director of Crossroads at Big Creek and she explains what they’re studying this year.



Heeringa says the kind of potato they are studying is called Criolla. Criollas grow very quickly and are hard to store safely, so having the seeds will make it easier to grow them when they’re needed the most. The Criolla potato is a very popular variety that is often sold by street vendors in South America. 

Working on Christmas as a Sturgeon Bay police officer

Working on Christmas is just like working a normal day for one Sturgeon Bay police officer. Officer Chad Mielke worked on Christmas Day and did all his normal duties. The SBPD was operating normally with as minimal staff as possible. Officer Mielke says Christmas Day is quieter when it comes to crime. Mielke explained that Christmas is not so jolly and festive for some families and that police need to handle domestic situations.



Officer Mielke says he does not mind working on Christmas and it’s part of the job of a police officer to work holidays a lot of people have off. 

Sturgeon Bay IT service store expanding and hiring

If you're in need of fast computer or technology help you may be in luck starting the new year. Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay is expanding and doubling its size. The new expansion opens on January 1st. Quantum PC is also hiring and interviewing people for various IT positions. Nathan Drager, the owner of Quantum PC, is excited about some of the new services that will be provided because of the expansion. 



With data security and misuse on the rise, Quantum PC can also help make your phone and internet usage safer. 

Milder fall and winter weather affects ice fishing

A local ice fisherman says warmer temperatures in the fall make it harder to ice fish come winter time. Captain J.J. Malvitz is a professional ice fishing guide in Door and Kewaunee Counties. The success of his business, J.J.'s Guide Service, depends on how much Lake Michigan and other lakes freeze over. If temperatures are colder over the course of the fall, that makes it easier for the lakes to freeze up safely for ice anglers. 



Malvitz has not noticed temperatures being higher consistently but will fluctuate from year to year. He is not sure about the effects of climate change. But higher temperatures would be bad for his business and other ice anglers in the area.

Government shutdown effect on human services in Door County

The Door County Human Services Department will not be affected by the federal government shutdown if it is temporary. The federal government shutdown started on Saturday after a temporary budget was passed through the House of Representatives but not the Senate on Friday. According to Door County Human Services Department Head Cori McFarlane, services they provide have enough state and local funding to last without federal funding for at least a couple of months.



McFarlane says the department is not expecting the shutdown to last long enough that there would be an issue in providing any of their services. Door County Human Services gets funding for assistance programs like BadgerCare, food stamps, and aging services.

YMCA says affordability is not a barrier to getting fit in 2019

Door County residents who are resolving to get fit in 2019 will find that the YMCA has a way to make that easier and more affordable.  The Y offers its Membership for All program.  YMCA Northern Door Executive Director Heidi Erickson says the program is tailored to help make the Y and its programming easy on everyone's pocketbook.



Erickson says those who take advantage of the Membership for All program are issued standard membership cards, so their privacy is protected.

Showing local youngsters there was mail before email

It's likely that few Door County youngsters realize that mail wasn't always sent via smartphone or computer.  The Door County Library branch in Egg Harbor is making sure that letter writing with pen and paper does not become a lost art. Throughout January, library goers are being encouraged to write more letters.  Librarian Morgan Mann says library staffers will make it an easy process for everybody.



Mann says there's no limit on the number of pages for each letter. 

Local churches on ruling that transgender ordinance violates religious freedom

Some Door County church pastors support a court ruling in a freedom of religion case in De Pere. A Brown County judge ruled an ordinance banning discrimination against transgender individuals violates the De Pere church's freedom of religion.  That ordinance prohibited discrimination by landlords, employers and businesses based on gender identity or expression. Several churches and a Christian-themed radio station sued to be exempted from the ordinance based on their beliefs and teachings. Pastor Shannon Souther, of Sturgeon Bay Community Church, calls the circuit court decision a proper interpretation.



Pastor Mark Engelbert, of Door Bible Baptist Church, believes the Bill of Rights guarantees individual rights.  He says issues arise, however, when one group or person's rights conflict with another group or person's rights.  



Similar lawsuits have been brought by churches in Austin, Texas over a similar anti-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBTQ residents. 

Bay Lakes Council invests in facilities

As the national office weighs out its options regarding bankruptcy, it is business as usual for local Boy Scouts organizations like Bay Lakes Council. The council’s Friends of Scouting campaign has raised over $680,000 of its $825,000 goal, which is used to help fund scouting programs across eastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan including Door and Kewaunee counties. Some of the major improvements Bay Lakes Council is planning for in the future is a welcome center at Camp Rokilio in Kiel and a new dining hall at Gardner Dam Scout Camp in Langlade County. Voyageur District Executive Christopher O’Brien says it is an exciting time to be a scout in northeast Wisconsin.


O’Brien says Voyageur District, which covers Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties, has experienced steady growth over the last year, including strong units in the Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg areas. He credits that to good programming and the organization’s admittance of girls to Cubs Scouts earlier this year and Scouts USA early next year. 

3rd Avenue shops have bustling Christmas sales

From Small Business Saturday through Christmas Eve,  3rd Avenue stores in downtown Sturgeon Bay say holiday business has been bustling.  Some shops have had a long presence and have become destination shops year round.  Bonnie Statz, owner of the Dancing Bear Toys and Little Luxuries, says Christmas time is always a busy time for them and this year has been no exception.


John Maggitti and his wife are marking their first Christmas with Novel Bay Booksellers.  The shop has only been open since July.  Maggitti says he took a wild guess about how holiday business would be and it far exceeded his expectations.  He believes their success is due to keeping things simple and fast customer response.



For many customers, niche shopping is becoming the only way to buy holiday gifts.

Recalls brings contaminated food to headlines

Every year, 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food.


With the latest recalls of canned corn, lettuce and cauliflower, it’s important to know when products are unsafe to eat. 


The University of Wisconsin-Extension has some resources to help keep you and your family food-safe.  Our resources include recipes and how-to videos for safely canning and preserving food at home.


To stay up to date on all the latest food safety & preservation news, visit and subscribe to our email list. Food safety help is often only a phone call away.  If you have a question about meat, poultry, or egg products, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). The Hotline is open year-round Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT (educators are available to help in either English or Spanish). And for after-hours questions, there are recorded food safety messages available 24 hours a day. Send email questions to 


Ask Karen! ( | ) is USDA’s automated response system that provides food safety information 24/7 and a live chat during Hotline hours. Mobile phone users can access


Other food safety resources. There are an abundance of resources to help you safely prepare and serve food.

FDA’s Food (Safety) Facts for Consumers. Dozens of fact sheets from the Food and Drug Administration.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Foodborne illness prevention information from the CDC. is your gateway to federal food safety information.

Health and Safety Food safety information from the USDA. 


Be food safe!

Door County administrator hopes Evers addresses levy limits

If Door County Administrator Ken Pabich had his way, incoming governor Tony Evers would free up levy restrictions put on municipalities in the state.  Pabich says levy limits and the funding for roads are the hands-down issues facing the new governor.



Under the current state budget, a municipality is allowed to increase its levy over the amount it levied in the prior year by the percentage increase in equalized value from net new construction.  If no new construction happened in the community, then the allowable levy increase is zero percent.

Restraining orders protect domestic violence victims

Restraining orders can help victims stay safer at home during the holidays when domestic violence tends to escalate.  According to Steve Vickman of Help of Door County, advocates work with victims to file restraining orders against their abusers.  He says although some think it is only a piece of paper, a restraining order can really work to the benefit of a victim.



In Wisconsin, restraining orders are based on domestic abuse, child abuse, harassment, and for individuals at risk, according to  A restraining order can be granted for up to two to four years. 

City of Algoma in good shape for 2019

The City of Algoma is sitting in a good financial position as the New Year approaches.  City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says they finished in the black for 2018.  He shares a review of how the year wrapped up.



Wiswell adds that the Algoma Long Term Care Center has stabilized after some issues created by the state and federal government because of Medicare and Medicaid rates.  City property taxes actually decreased in the last year, according to Wiswell.

Year end estate planning important to review

Keeping your estate plan updated is as important as preparing your personal taxes in the New Year, according to one estate planner.  Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay says reviewing and updating one's estate plan should also be done when changes occur in your family.  He says one should take note of life-changing events that may affect their estates.



Ross says people may want to make changes to their advance financial and health care directives as well as take advantage of charitable contributions for tax purposes before the New Year.


Lame duck session could inspire Democratic runs

Votes made by Republican members of the state Senate and Assembly earlier this month could inspire competition in future races according to Door County Democratic Chairperson Will Gregory. Assemblymember Joel Kitchens and state Senate-elect Andre Jacque were among those casting votes shifting some of the power previously given to the governor back to the Wisconsin Legislature. Democrats decried the move as a power grab from Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Republicans said the session restored balance between the two branches. Door County Democratic Party Chairperson Will Gregory says time will tell if the session translates into candidates.

Door County Democrats did not have a candidate for the First Assembly District during the 2018 election, instead throwing their support behind independent candidate Roberta Thelen. State Senator Caleb Frostman lost his chance to become the first Democrat to serve a full term in the seat in more than 40 years.  

Make a list to set financial goals

Making a list and checking it twice could help you set sound financial goals according to Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors. Forming good financial habits is one thing, but establishing goals might be a way to take it another step. Whether it is using your tax refund more efficiently or cutting bills in different places to save up for a vacation, Pustaver says writing it down makes it more real.

Pustaver says after writing down your goals, you should put them somewhere you can see them and diagnose how those issues keep coming up. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.



Area Christians head to church for Christmas

Churches across Door and Kewaunee counties expect to be full Monday and Tuesday for their annual Christmas services. A LifeWay Research poll showed six in ten Americans will head to church to celebrate the holiday. Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Michael Sullivan will be celebrating his last Christmas services in Kewaunee before he and his family take on a similar role in Canada. He hopes people see the love of Christ this season no matter what they are dealing with elsewhere.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg will see Pastor Daniel Schuster celebrating his first Christmas masses at the pair of parishes. He says he wants his parishioners to understand the impact of incarnation.

We have a partial listing of area Christmas services posted online with this story. Local churches will have more details on their services on their respective Web sites or social media channels. 


Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kewaunee

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, Ellison Bay

Friends Community Church, Sturgeon Bay

Holy Trinity Church, Casco

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Luxemburg

National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion

Catholic Mass Times for Wisconsin




Tips on ice fishing after latest rescue

A Door and Kewaunee County fishing guide cites new technology as one way to be safer on the ice. Captain J. J. Malvitz says satellite photos are a great way to get a better understanding of ice conditions on Green Bay and Lake Michigan. This comes after 14 people had to be rescued in the Bay of Green Bay on Tuesday after the wind blew the massive chunk of ice they were fishing on away from the shore. Captain Malvitz, owner of JJ's Guide Service, suggests typing in “Great Lakes MODIS imagery” into a search engine to get the latest satellite photos.



Malvitz says If you see a lot of open water, it may not be safe. He added that you should really use common sense before going on the ice and talk to the locals who are on the waters every single day.


Brown County's air boat was deployed to rescue the fishermen from the bay. No one was hurt.

Forestville adds manure to nuisance ordinance

The Village of Forestville has added manure to its existing nuisance ordinance. Other noxious smells are already a part of the ordinance. The manure add-on was voted on at the town board meeting last week on Monday. Forestville Clerk Mary Ann Salmon says the village does not want the smell of manure and they also don’t want to deal with manure haulers. The trucks can add traffic and make messes on the roads if there is any spillage.



Village President Terry McNulty says there is one agricultural property in Forestville and they spoke with the owners.



According to Salmon, Forestville was previously considering making a manure haulers ordinance but decided to ban it entirely.


Snow crews staying busy despite no snow

The snow clean-up crew in Sturgeon Bay is able to keep busy even with the surprising lack of snow so far this December. Mike Barker is the Director of Municipal Services for Sturgeon Bay and he says they’re still cleaning up leaves, keeping the snow equipment ready to go, and removing dead ash trees from some of the parks. Some also take vacation days during the holiday season, but they know they have to cut that short in case of a fast-developing blizzard.



It’s never been an issue for Barker as there have always been volunteers to clean up the snow whenever it’s been needed. If that didn’t happen they would call the crew in order of reverse seniority.


A “White Christmas” is not in the forecast right now. There is a possibility for snow on New Years Eve and New Years Day. 

Town of Lincoln planning new town hall building

The Kewaunee County Town of Lincoln is planning on building a new town hall. The town is still working out how it will be financed. Lincoln Clerk Mary Ann Salmon says they are looking at bidding options and the process could take a while.



Lincoln does have the location picked out on Maple Road in Casco. The January town meeting does not yet have a specific date and time. 

Altrusa needs donations all year long

Altrusa of Door County is best known for their Back-To-School Fair and they are much more than that. The volunteer organization has programs that go all year round that try to make everyone in Door County more literate. The Born-to-Read Project gives a gift package to parents of newborns that include two board books and a poem to encourage reading to your children at a very early age. One club member translates children books into Braille. Altrusans also volunteer to read in Door County preschool and kindergarten classrooms. They hold various fundraisers throughout the year and on December 4th hosted the Holiday Extravaganza in Sturgeon Bay, which is the largest of the year. Christianna Blahnik is the president of Altrusa of Door County and she says that helps them do all the things they need to do.



The Holiday Extravaganza included a silent auction, raffles, and a fashion show from clothes donated by various businesses in the area.


Altrusa is made up of all women. The 2018 Back-to-School fair helped over 600 Door County children get the books and school supplies they needed for the school year.

Dems against legislation

The Democratic Party of Door County has come out against the legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by outgoing Governor Scott Walker last week. Chairman Will Gregory called Republicans’ actions after losing the executive branch in the November election “unbelievable” and “unconscionable.” Some liberal organizations like One Wisconsin Now have already filed legal action against the bill that limits early voting to two weeks prior to an election. Other bills may be challenged later as well. Gregory says the DPDC won’t challenge any of the bills but will support any organization that does. "I'm going to support those who will be fighting. The way to restore the will of the people that got involved in the last election is to make sure the rule of law is followed."


Ron Heuer, Chairman of the Republican Party of Kewaunee County, says the DPDC is overreacting to all this. 



Part of the legislation will limit the power of Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. 

Underage tobacco sales higher in Door County

Underage tobacco sales are down overall in the state of Wisconsin but Door County is not helping in that number. In 2018, when minors in Wisconsin try to buy tobacco they are successful 5.8% of the time. In Door County that number is 28%. Cath Tease of re:THINK says the biggest reason minors are sold tobacco is because of under-trained and under-educated clerks. Tease thinks because many of Door County clerks are seasonal and part-time, that may be a big reason for the high percentage.



Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty of the Door County Sheriff’s Office agrees that clerks need better training in checking for ID’s when an underage customer approaches them. The county does work with the state on helping their stores comply with laws on selling to minors. He says the sheriff’s office is ready if they catch a business not complying.



Tease added it’s more important than ever that tobacco not get into kids’ hands since the tobacco companies want that customer for life.  

Data protection legislation needed

A Sturgeon Bay IT professional thinks a bill pending in the U.S. Congress to help protect personal computer data should be passed. Nathan Drager, the owner of Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay, says he hopes the legislation that was created in part by Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin called the Data Care Act will help protect the regular online consumer. The act would put more responsibility on websites, apps, and online providers to not use data inappropriately, as well as sharing it with third parties. This comes in the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of Congress about how Facebook shares data and other data breaches like the Equifax one last year. Drager says sharing your data right now is like the “wild west.”



Drager added that people can help protect themselves by using different passwords for all their online accounts, being careful of what you are downloading, and what you share on public networks. 

Southern Door Big Brothers Big Sisters making difference

Southern Door youth have the opportunity to be involved in the Big Brothers Big Sister program. Becoming a Big Brother/Sister or a Little provides students with a role model, help for school, and a new friend. This program is lead by Mrs. O’Rourke, a valued member of the Southern Door community.


This is my third year being involved with BBBS. Over the years, my Little and I have grown very close. I feel that this program is an excellent outlet for youth in our community to have a stable and healthy friendship. I have learned so much from my little and am still learning. I meet with my Little during one study hall, a week, in school.


For the holiday season, the BBBS Program invites its Bigs and Littles to ring bells for the Salvation Army, make holiday cards, go bowling, and attend a Holiday Party.


Gibraltar high school band finds its balance at winter concert

Three songs were played at the Gibraltar winter concert, ranging from two faster-paced songs to a slow-placed remix of “Joy to the World” in-between. The band consists of about 40 members.  Trumpet player Gabby Lettie, a senior at Gibraltar, said finding balance is important for a smaller band.



Winter concerts throughout the area are playing on every night on 102.1 MORE FM throughout the holidays, with Gibraltar’s to air Christmas Day at 7 p.m.

Statewide resource provides options for those in need

A new phone line is providing assistance and options for those who need it most in Door and Kewaunee County. 2-1-1 Wisconsin is a service that connects each caller to a specialist who can determine the needs of each individual before connecting him or her to a solution using a vast database of resources. The database consists of federal, state, and local programs as well as both government and nonprofit organizations. Steve Vickman, the executive director of Help Of Door County, said the resource exists because everyone will need help at some point in their life.



Those who need assistance can dial either 2-1-1 or (877) 947-2211 to be connected to a specialist. The service can provide help during times of personal crisis or after a natural disaster.

Porch pirates a concern for online shoppers

The holiday season is a time for gifts, but some thieves look to steal packages from the front steps of online shoppers. The phrase “porch pirates” has been given to those who would steal packages from those who make purchases from retailers online, and comes from the method of delivery of the package, usually on the front porch or step. The Door County Sheriff’s Office has not seen too much of a problem concerning package theft, but Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty said there are still ways to protect oneself from thieving hands.



Online shoppers are also encouraged to leave instructions for delivery if they believe there is a safer place for a package to be dropped off. Some online retailers offer refunds in case of theft.

Door County Historical Society catering to a younger audience in 2019

The Door County Historical Society will be offering several projects in 2019 that cater more toward a younger audience. Bailey Koepsel, the executive director of the society, said that while the projects are still a few months away, those who work and volunteer with the organization are excited to get underway. A couple of projects listed by Koepsel include coverage of the history of beer making in Wisconsin and some of the state's most bizarre occurrences. Koepsel said some of their projects will be designed to be more interesting to newer generations.



The Historical Society is currently closed but will begin its 2019 season in February. Those interested in volunteering or otherwise getting involved with the society are welcome to contact the organization.

A little Nashville in Door County

A local recording studio has received quite the generous loan in the form of a vintage piano. The 1919 Steinway Model A piano, in excellent condition, was loaned to Studio 330 from a Sturgeon Bay resident looking to make more room in their house. While the piano is not a permanent addition and has been given to the studio on a loan, owner Hans Christian said the instrument is a welcome arrival and would be treated with the respect it deserves.



Christian mentioned the Model A is considered one of the finest pianos ever made and said loans such as this do not come about very often. Qualified musicians are welcome to come to record their music on the piano, with Christian recommending those who perform classical, jazz, or acoustic music and know how to treat the instrument make their way down to the studio.




Photo credits to Hans Christian.

Holiday season can bring unexpected stress for those dealing with disabilities

The holiday season often brings cheer and merriment to most, but for those with disabilities, it can bring a lot of undue stress. The thought of not being able to do everything once able to be done can cause anxiety and unhappiness for many people. Jake Erickson, the director of the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Door County, said stress might come from the breaking up of normal routines and habits during all the movement and holiday activities.



Erickson suggested in the ADRC’s December newsletter that those who feel anxiety or stress over the holidays take a moment to ask for help and adjust expectations so that everyone can feel completely comfortable. For those visiting relatives with disabilities, Erickson said keeping the needs of loved ones in mind when planning can go a long way in ensuring a happy holiday season.

OPINION: Sheriff-elect shows class and confidence

Door County may have just elected one of the most self-confident and self-assured sheriffs in Wisconsin history.

Tammy Sternard won a race as a Democratic for Door County Sheriff. She has kept in place her opponent, Chief Deputy Pat McCarty, who ran against her for sheriff as a Republican. That keeps McCarty in the number two position in the department and in a perfect place to mount a campaign for sheriff in the future.

Far too many in politics today view their opponent as an enemy. Apparently, Tammy Sternard has enough self-confidence to rise above traditional politics.

By keeping Chief Deputy McCarty in his position Sternard shows class and confidence. She sends a strong message that she is above the expected partisan politics of retribution that is far too pervasive today.

Sternard replaces another sheriff who demonstrated the same non-partisanship that should be part of the office. Steve Delarwelle served Door County as an effective, quiet and confident leader. Delarwelle never sought publicity. He was a professional law enforcement officer and never a typical politician. And he was smart enough to win a competitive race for sheriff.

These two people, both of whom Door County should be proud, are examples of why being a sheriff should not be a partisan office. Administering a law enforcement agency has nothing to do with being Republican or Democrat. Today, it has more to do with how to reduce recidivism, be smart rather than tough on crime and how to work in a community to prevent rather than punish criminal activity.

Tammy Sternard has a four-year example from Steve Delarwelle that she appears smart enough to follow. She’s off to very good start.

Now, lets get politics out of the courthouse and make positions like sheriff and county clerical positions like clerk, treasurer and register of deeds appointed rather than elected non-partisan positions.

And while that may take some time to accomplish, be confident Door County should be proud of retiring sheriff Delarwelle and his replacement, Tammy Sternard. May retirement bless you, Steve. And Tammy, may you and all with whom you serve be safe and protected.

That’s my opinion. I’d like to hear yours.

Climate Change Coalition screening documentary

The Climate Change Coalition of Door County is partnering up with the League of Women Voters to hold a screening of a new documentary in Sturgeon Bay. Saving Snow was filmed in Wisconsin in 2017 and explores the snow sports industry and its struggles against a rising average temperature. According to data presented on the documentary’s website, Door County has seen an average temperature increase of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade over the last 50 years. Katie Krouse, the coordinator at the Climate Change Coalition of Door County, said the film covers many different areas of the tourism industry and how warmer temperatures might affect normal operations.

The film will be screened at Crossroads at Big Creek on Wednesday, January 9th. The event is free to the public; however, donations are welcomed. Saving Snow is a production of Adaptation Now, a larger film project seeking to document communities dealing with the issues of climate change.

Southern Door High School student correspondent gaining valuable experience

Having a love for writing with a dream to become a journalist has Delilah Rose following her passion on the radio.  As a student correspondent at Southern Door High School, Rose, 17, is writing weekly news stories for  She shares her approach to writing a story while gaining valuable experience. 



 Rose, a junior at Southern Door High School, connected with the radio stations of through her involvement with the YMCA’s Youth in Government program.  She has written over thirty stories since starting as a student correspondent during her sophomore year.  

Door County Sheriff-elect keeps department administrators intact

The only changes at the Door County Sheriffs Department in January will be a new sheriff and a new Jail Lieutenant.  Sheriff-elect Tammy Sternard, the current jail lieutenant, annouced in news release that all administrative staff, including Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty, who ran against Sternard in the sheriff's race, will remain in their current positions when she takes office in January.  
Sternard said in the release:  "Our organization has been very busy working on the transition over the past several weeks.  I would like to thank Sheriff (Steve) Delarwelle for his years of service to our community and his help with the transition is greatly appreciated and is making for a smooth transition."  Sternard also said she's in the process of filling the jail lieutenant position.


Kewaunee County's 2019 budget not impacted by overpayment settlement

Kewaunee County's settlement of overpayments to the county Human Services Department from the state and federal governments will not impact the 2019 budget.  A state Department of Health Services audit found that claims submitted for services by Kewaunee County lacked the proper signatures that needed to be filed within an allowable time frame.  The state audit found the county received a nearly $157,000 overpayment.  This week the Kewaunee County Board agreed to a settlement of nearly $118,000 to the state and federal governments.  County Administrator Scott Feldt says the 2019 budget will not have to be reworked to cover the repayment.  



The settlement was for claims filed in 2015 and 2016.  The settlement won't be final until an audit of claims from September of this year until March of 2019 has been finished.

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding delivers tug-barge for Christmas

The largest inland and offshore tank-barge shipping company in the U.S. is getting a new additon to its fleet just in time for Christmas thanks to Fincantier Bay Shipbuilding.  The Sturgeon Bay shipyard delivered the tug, RONNIE MURPH, and the barge, KIRBY, to Kirby Corporation, based in Houston, Texas. That marks the end of a three-year construction process. Todd Thayse, Vice President and General Manager, says completing the vessels as the extended shipping season and 2018 come to an end is a credit to the yard and its employees.


The vessel is the third 155,000 gallon tug-barge system built for Kirby Corporation by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.  Kirby Corporation operates fleets on the Mississippi River and on all U.S. coastal waters. 

Referenda less likely under Blue Ribbon recommendations

Districts in Door and Kewaunee counties may be less likely to have to go to referendum to address budget deficits if recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding are approved.  After holding public meetings across the state this year, the commission addressed nineteen key areas. Under the proposals, revenue limits would be tied to inflation and school districts in rural areas would not be penalized as harshly by declining enrollment. Commission co-chairperson and First District Assemblymember Joel Kitchens says his meeting with superintendents in Door and Kewaunee counties went well when he discussed the proposed changes with them.

Kitchens says the full report will be published in the coming weeks in advance of the Wisconsin Legislature taking up specific proposals as standalone legislation or a part of the budget process. In the coming weeks, we will ask superintendents for their thoughts on the proposals made by the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding. 

Kewaunee County continues to rack up library fines

Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt has 408,000 reasons why residents should order their books if they cannot make it to the Algoma or Kewaunee public libraries. That is approximately what residents have paid for library materials from Brown and Manitowoc counties over the last seven years. Kewaunee County is required to pay close to $3 an item under state law. Many of those items could have been found within the county. If they could not find it closer to home, Feldt says ordering them online could be just as convenient as using an out-of-county library.

Residents that order books through the service can pick up the materials at the Algoma or Kewaunee Public Libraries or Nicolet National Bank in Luxemburg.

Area churches prepare for Christmas: Part 1

Churches in Door County are likely to see new faces come through their doors this Christmas season. According to LifeWay Research, approximately 57 percent of people who do not attend church on a regular basis would likely attend a Christmas service if they were invited. Pastor Jim Honig at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay hopes people walk away from his service knowing God wants them to have a full life.

Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo believes if people remember the reason we celebrate Christmas, many of the world’s problems could be helped.

Christmas offers a chance for churches to reach out to those that do not identify with a religion with 30 percent of people saying they will still attend a holiday service. This is the first in a two-part series with area churches on what they hope people take away from their Christmas services.









Sevastopol School technical education gets a big financial boost

It's just over a month since Sevastopol School District voters approved a $27.1-million dollar referendum, which included significant upgrades for technical education facilities.  When the board of education met Thursday night, Superintendent Kyle Luedtke announced the tech ed program upgrade got another big financial boost.



Also at Thursday's meeting, the board of education approved a resolution for the borrowing on bonds for the school renovation projects.

Broker on how to work around market losses

A local stock broker says investors need sound guidance and should not panic even though the market has lost nearly 2,700 points in December.  While that's the worst December showing since the Great Depression, John Kaye, with Raymond James in Luxemburg, says this might be the time to review your investment strategies and not be in a hurry to get out of the market.



Kaye says Raymond James is projecting some more sell offs in the market before it stages a comeback in 2019.

Birmingham, Catarozoli not running for Sturgeon Bay office

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will have plenty of new faces this spring after Mayor Thad Birmingham and District 1 alderperson Kelly Catarozoli filed their non-candidacy papers. They joined District 3 alderperson David Ward and District 5 alderperson Barb Allmann who opted to not run for their current posts earlier this month. Ward has returned his nomination papers to run for mayor along Shawn Fairchild. In District 1, Helen Bacon has returned her nomination papers while Dawn Goodban still has hers out. Dan Williams has turned in his paperwork for the District 3 aldermanic district with Sean Linnan still collecting signatures. In District 5, Sarah Evenson is still collecting signatures to see if she can run against Gary Nault. District 7 alderperson Laurel Hauser is the only incumbent trying to run in the spring election while Ryan Herlache has papers out and Kirsten McFarlin has hers turned in. Candidates have until January 2nd to file their nomination papers.

Local congressman preparing for a D.C. Christmas

If securing the border and averting a government shutdown means Christmas away from the 8th Congressional District, then you can count Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher in for that. The House of Representatives passed their own version of a stopgap funding bill that does provide the $5 billion the Trump administration requested for building a wall on the country’s southern border.  Rep. Gallagher says he is happy they are finally having the debate, even if it puts holiday plans in jeopardy.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Gallagher also expressed concern about the sudden resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. He believes the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw troops from volatile areas like Syria and Afghanistan is a mistake and could make the country less safe.  

Removing social media profiles after death

Your digital legacy may live on longer than you'd like.  Social media profiles can be difficult to remove if spouses and other family members do not have records of your log in credentials.  That's why estate planners like Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planners in Sturgeon Bay says it is vital to keep a location list.  He says having a power of attorney in place, even if you should become incapacitated, will allow someone else to be able to access and make changes to your social media. The federal government has just passed a new rule, according to Ross. 



Ross adds that it could take up to  a year or longer fighting in court to get access to  a family member's or friend's online accounts.  Facebook users can now select an option in advance to have their account memorialized or permanently deleted.  

Southern Door needs school board candidates

The Southern Door School District is looking for 2 new School Board members after two incumbents filed their non-candidacy papers for the April school board election. Board Vice President Jamie Schmiling and board member Carrol Toneys will not be returning for another term. Applications are due by January 2nd and the election will be held on April 2nd. It’s a three-year term. Sue Ann Hubbard is the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and School Board, and she describes the ideal candidate for a school board member.



The main job of the Southern Door School Board is to set the budget and tax levy for the year. Schmiling and Toneys will be on the board until the next Regular School Board Meeting on April 15th, when the elected candidates will take the Oath of Office.

Habitat dedicates 41st home

Amanda Purdy of Sturgeon Bay already knows she may never top this Christmas. Purdy, her husband Jacob, and their five children were on hand Thursday as Door County Habitat for Humanity dedicated their home as the 41st built in the organization's history. Volunteers put in extra hours to finish the home, which started two months later than usual. The home is the largest ever constructed by Door County Habitat for Humanity and also included the first two-car garage and basement built. As her children showed off their new bedrooms, Purdy is excited to reminisce about the memories they have seeing their home get built.


Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director David Van Dyke says after all the challenges they faced this year, dedicating the home was particularly sweet.


Van Dyke says they are still looking for their 42nd partner family for next year. The Purdy family expects to move in over the next few days. 


Forestville starts garbage curbside pickup

The Village of Forestville has a new ordinance for garbage curbside pickup. The village came to an agreement with Advanced Disposal at the village town meeting on Monday. Garbage and recycling will be picked up every Friday starting in 2019. People will be provided with garbage and recycling receptacles by Advanced Disposal. Village President Terry McNulty says this will be taxpayer-funded and he's happy with how inexpensive it will be for residents.



Forestville had no garbage policy previously. Residents had to ask for curbside service.

State senator introduces a bill to deal with Foxconn's hidden costs

The Foxconn deal with the State of Wisconsin may come with some hidden costs to taxpayers.  A Legislative Audit Bureau found that some of the $1.5-billion in tax credits could be used by Foxconn for work done outside of the state.  Now, 30th District State Senator Dave Hansen is introducing a bill that would change the rules adopted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for Foxconn. Those rules allow payroll tax credits for "remote' workers, those who work at home or in sales.  Senator Hansen says that goes against what the agreement with Foxconn promised.



Foxconn promised to create 13,000 jobs and invest $10-billion in an LCD manufacturing center in Mt. Pleasant.  Foxconn has also bought the Watermark Building in Green Bay for what it calls an innovation center.

Helping Sevastopol parents help their children with reading and writing


Parents or guardians in the Sevastopol School District can play a role in helping their children become better readers and writers.  The district will offer Literacy Night starting in January at the high school.  Three different half-hour sessions will be held on letter manipulation, basic syllable types and improving reading comprehension.  Director of Pupil Services Melissa Marggraf says this came about when parents asked what they could do to help improve reading skills and homework. Marggraf says literacy night will help parents and teachers use common approaches to aid students in the classroom and at home.



The Sevastopol School's Literacy Night will take place Tuesday, January 15th from 5-7pm at the High School IMC on Highway 57 in Institute.

Shrine helps reignite Midnight Mass tradition

As other Catholic churches drop the midnight mass from their Christmas schedule, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion is leading its comeback. Many churches stopped doing the service because of declining attendance. The tradition of celebrating the birth of Jesus at midnight dates back to when the faithful would hold vigils before major feast days to spiritually prepare themselves. The midnight mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help does not date back that far but its rector, Father of Mercy John Broussard, says it has become an important night at the church.

The music played during the midnight mass also plays an important role during the service, which includes a procession of the statue of a baby Jesus taking his rightful spot in the nativity scene. Music director Nicholas Saldaña says it will balance traditional carols with English and Latin hymns.

For many in Door and Kewaunee counties, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help hosts the closest of the Green Bay diocese’s 12 midnight masses. 

School district prepares referendum question

The Sturgeon Bay School District is continuing to tweak the exact wording of its likely spring operational referendum.  The topic was among those discussed during Wednesday’s school board meeting, which included the approval of over 40 board policy changes. The operational referendum would be used to maintain educational programming. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says the timing of the state budget release is one of the reasons putting exact figures down for the referendum question difficult.

Tjernagel says the board will have two more opportunities to discuss the referendum question in detail before ultimately deciding if it is ready to appear on the spring ballot. 

Lemens Hardware to move as Batten retires

Lemens Hardware will have a new space to call its own next spring after buying Batten True Value this month. Batten True Value owner Ken Batten is selling his Highway 54 location after 46 years to retire and spend more time with his family. With store closing sales occurring in the coming weeks, Batten says the decision was bittersweet.

Lemens Hardware has been a fixture on Luxemburg’s Main Street for almost 70 years. Third-generation owner Jim Lemens believes in a strong Main Street, but says the opportunity to move to a location with higher visibility and three-times the space for his inventory was too good to pass up.

Lemens is shooting for an April grand opening date for his new location while looking for new renters for the pair of buildings the store currently calls home.

Senator puzzled by government funding vote

Wednesday’s vote in the United States  Senate to extend funding to avoid a government shutdown was one of the strangest nights in the tenure of Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.  He says the voice vote was taken before many senators knew was in the bill being sent for House and Presidential approval. The bill does not include the $5 billion requested by the Trump administration to fund the construction of a wall on the country’s border with Mexico. Senator Johnson did not open his mouth during the vote, but believes it would have passed regardless.

In order to pass a longer-term funding solution, Senator Johnson says streamlining the nomination process would help stop the obstruction of Trump appointments and give more time to senators to discuss the twelve appropriation bills well in advance. 

Construction equipment technician program aids Wisconsin builders

Door County home builders, like other construction firms statewide, have been busy this year and face challenges staying on schedule.  That's partly because of the demand for skilled workers, especially construction equipment technicians.  Now Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development is starting a new Construction Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Program to fill that demand.  Eli Phillips, owner of Alpha Through Omega Constructions in Casco, says the time couldn't be better.



Recruiting for the Construction Equipment Technician Program is now underway.

Two Southern Door students receive FFA grant

Two Southern Door High School students have received a $1000 Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Wisconsin FFA Foundation Grant. Zach and Anna Olson, who are siblings, completed a five-page application explaining their ideas, how much funding they needed, how they expected to use the funds and their future goals with their SAE project as well as their service efforts in both FFA and other school activities. Zach, a junior, has won the grant twice and plans to use the funds to expand the herd he started with his first grant.



Anna is a freshman and plans to purchase her own calf to breed, with the goal of having four dairy cattle by graduation.



The two plan to continue their education into college. SAE grants are given out in multiple categories, with the Olson siblings receiving the award in the “Dairy” category.

Donations keep money flowing through Southern Door County School District

Several donations to various Southern Door district activities were approved at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. Eleven donations were reviewed and approved by the board, and the money will go to several Southern Door extracurricular activities, including FFA and the athletics department. Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman said a regular influx of donations is nothing new for the district.



Donations at this month’s meeting include contributions from the Southern Door FFA Alumni Association, Condon Oil Company & Hole-In-One Mobil, and the Door County Service Club Coalition of Sturgeon Bay.

Local churches balance legality and faith in helping asylum seekers

Some local pastors are willing to help refugees from Central America at the U.S.-Mexico border. They say, however, there's a thin line between providing aid and comfort and obeying the law.  Sturgeon Bay Community Church Pastor Shannon Souther says faith communities can provide needed help to obtain legal entry for refugees.



Door Bible Baptist Church Pastor Mark Engelbert shares those feelings and says believers are obligated to help others as followers of Christ and descendants of immigrants.



Some church leaders in the Milwaukee area spoke out in favor of those at the U.S.-Mexico border during a gathering for "International Migrants Day".

What Door County can learn from another community about broadband

Door County will undergo some growing pains in order to have reliable broadband access.  The City of Reedsburg, which is located near Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo, offers high-speed internet to every home and business in the city limits.  City Administrator Stephen Compton says getting access to high-speed internet access can be a slow process for any community.  He says key areas and questions need to be answered first.



Compton says once those areas have been addressed the right connections in legislative circles can help communities get their development processes up to speed.



Compton says all those efforts can pay off in the end by offering reliable internet service to people and businesses looking for communities for possible relocation.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: When most people make a $360,000 mistake there are consequences

Editorial Comment by
Roger Utnehmer
President and CEO

When most people make a $360,000 mistake there are consequences.
Not, apparently, if you’re the mayor of Sturgeon Bay or a former city administrator or county economic development director.

The Sturgeon Bay city council voted Tuesday to pay developer Robert Papke $360,000 to settle litigation over a failed hotel on the west-side waterfront.
Papke claims he was misled by officials who encouraged him to develop the hotel project but withheld information about title to the property.

The city settled and taxpayers are footing the bill. Papke has said that those promoting the waterfront development “threw roses at my feet” to get him to invest the more than $500,000 in expenses related to the hotel. Those would include Mayor Thad Birmingham, former city administrator Steve McNeill, and former Door County Economic Director Bill Chaudoir. All three were involved in pushing the project and misleading Papke.

McNeill and Chaudoir have retired and Birmingham’s term as mayor expires in April.

The $360,000 payment to Papke could have patched a lot of potholes. There are better uses for taxpayer dollars than lawsuits and litigation. And if anyone in the private sector made the mistakes that have resulted in this settlement there would be consequences. Not, though, in city government, not even an apology from the people who got Sturgeon Bay into this mess in the first place.

Two are retired and one should be held accountable if he seeks another term as mayor of Sturgeon Bay.

That’s my opinion. I’d like to hear yours.


Discussions over dog park continue following meeting

A group that had previously adopted the Shiloh Road Bark Park attended last Wednesday's Parks and Recreation committee hearing to discuss possible improvements. The group shared thoughts on what the park would need and what it hoped for so that the committee might have time to consider the ideas for a possible 2020 budget. It was also determined that fundraising might also be a possibility. City councilperson Laurel Hauser said the meeting was a productive one.



While discussions are underway, no immediate improvements are planned.

Winter brings new risk of injury to outdoor pets

With winter bringing snow and ice to Door County, pet owners should keep an eye on their outdoor activities. Dr. Jordan Kobilca, veterinarian and owner of the Luxemburg Pet Clinic in Kewaunee County and the Door County Veterinary Hospital, says he doesn’t actually see an increase in visits, but that doesn’t mean pets don’t suffer winter-related injuries. Dogs, cats and other pets could suffer damage to paw pads after walking or running on ice. Koblica explains how best to take care of a pet who has hurt itself after playing outside.



Kobilca also stresses the importance of safety with toxic chemicals that are frequently used in wintertime, such as antifreeze.  Cats should also be kept away from tinsel and string, as cats might eat them.

Mayoral candidates agree transportation is biggest issue

With Governor-elect Tony Evers one month away from taking office, mayoral candidates for the City of Sturgeon Bay see highways and roads as being the single biggest concern that needs to be addressed.  Councilmember David Ward says Evers might be able to get things done sooner than later.



Shawn Fairchild, who plans on turning in his nomination papers this week, says remembering the “little guy” is crucial as well.  



Ward also says restoring more local control in the municipalities and schools throughout the state would be good as well.    Fairchild added that more affordable housing and employee wages should be a priority for the incoming governor. 

County votes to support medical marijuana and expand park

The Door County Board of Supervisors moved forward on a resolution in support of medical marijuana legalization and an expansion of a local park.  County Administrator Ken Pabich says the purchase of additional property to the Door Bluff Headlands County Park will require raising funds in the future.



Pabich also says the Board voted to approve a resolution to support medical marijuana.




The Door County Board of Supervisors also voted to merge the Board of Health under the Human Services Department and approved pay plans for employees.  

Papke gets $360,000 settlement from City of Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay city council members voted 5 to 2 Tuesday to override a veto of a $360,000 settlement agreement with Robert Papke.  
Papke was the developer of a west-side hotel that was blocked when The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront challenged the right of the city to sell the former lake-bed property to Papke.

Papke then sued the city for more than $500,000, claiming he was misled by city officials who did not inform him that title to the property was in question.

The council approved the settlement two weeks ago by the same vote only to have it vetoed by Mayor Thad Birmingham.  Council members Seth Wiederanders and David Ward voted against overriding the veto.

Birmingham said Tuesday he opposes the settlement to Papke because six different attorneys advised against it.



Council member Laurel Hauser said that by not settling, Sturgeon Bay could be involved in litigation for many years.

Settling now was called the best option for the city by council member Kelly Catarozoli.  She said that the city has been held hostage by the lawsuit.



The council went into a short closed session regarding another pending lawsuit with Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront.  Council members did not return to open session or announce decisions made in the closed session.  

Pot referendum may make Sturgeon Bay April ballot

Voters in Sturgeon Bay might get a chance to vote on legalizing marijuana at the same time they select four city council representatives and a mayor.  The Sturgeon Bay City Council Community Protection and Services Committee voted on December 13th to bring a resolution authorizing an advisory referendum to be held in April to the next council meeting in January.  Committee chair Barbara Allmann says the referendum will ask voters about their opinion on legalizing both medical and recreational use of cannabis.  Allman supports an advisory referendum on the medical use of marijuana but opposes recreational use.  Both committee members Kelly Catarozoli and Seth Wiederanders, she said, support a referendum on both.

If a majority of council members approve holding an advisory referendum it could be on the April 2019 ballot.  Pot-related referenda have increased voter participation in several states during the November 2018 elections.

Kuhns short films explain carbon fee bill

A local member of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby has made two short series films on a new carbon fee bill and the importance of a sustainable economy.  Roger Kuhns, an author, and geologist from Door County says the two videos help explain the potential impact of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018.  He says the videos are produced to make it easy for the average consumer to understand. 



Kuhns says the Act would effectively reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050.  The bi-partisan bill was introduced three weeks ago in the House with possible passage next year when the new U.S. Congress meets in January. You can find the two five-minute videos online with this story.  


Carbon Fee





Sturgeon Bay organization in a giving mood all-year round

You can find an inexpensive last-minute Christmas gift and support a great cause at the same time. At Feed and Clothe My People Thrift Shop in Sturgeon Bay cups and glasses are half off until Wednesday. Not that they need to be on sale in the first place, they’re only $0.50-$1.00 at regular price. All the proceeds at the store go back into the organization which helps feed and clothe people all year round. Estella Tuft, Director of Operations at FCMP, says they see an uptick in donations during the holiday season but are still in great need of winter clothes for younger children.



Feed and Clothe My People helps between 500 and 600 families per year from their food and clothing donations. 

Highway commissioner hopes Evers improves local transit funding

Highway commissioner hopes Evers improves local transit fundingDoor County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej hopes Governor-elect Tony Evers will make some changes in funding for local road repairs and maintenance.  Evers has been touring the state to get ideas from citizens and local leaders on what their priorities are for the state budget.  Kolodziej says county and local highway funding needs to be near the top of the list.



Kolodziej believes one possible solution would be to swap federal highway funds designated for local projects with some state funds.



Kolodziej also says the state shouldn't rule out the possibility of increasing the state fuel tax, which has not been raised in over a decade.

Lions Club thanks local hunters for record deer hide donations

The generosity of Door County deer hunters continues paying off for the Lions Club camp for handicapped children and adults.  Since 1991, the Forestville-Maplewood Lions Club has collected hides from hunters who bring their deer to selected meat processors.  The hides are then sold to the highest bidder and the money raised is given to the camp.  Lions Club member Tom Mueller says this season's collections set a record and helped the chapter reach a milestone.


Mueller says The Lions Club Camp at Rosholt gives 13-hundred handicapped children and adults some summer fun to look forward to each year.

Parks superintendent explains the benefits behind drawdown

Ben Nelson, the superintendent of the Door County Facilities & Parks Department, has explained the benefits of drawing down the Forestville Millpond for two years. At a meeting last June, a report was given by the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department detailing the issues the Millpond was facing and listing several possible solutions that the town could use to improve the quality of its water.  Of the 10 solutions, the two-year drawdown was identified as being the most plausible option. Nelson said cost was a big factor in the department's decision to recommend the millpond over another preferred option.



There will be a hearing on Wednesday to update the public on information about the pond and hear comments from residents. The Southern Door Fire Department and the president of the Village of Forestville, Terry McNulty, have both previously expressed concerns about the project.

Air National Guard/Civil Patrol exercise generates calls to Cherryland Airport

A pair of loud, low-flying Wisconsin Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets kept the phones ringing at Sturgeon Bay's Cherryland Airport Tuesday afternoon.  The jets were part of a routine military training exercise called Operation: Noble Eagle. The F-16s with the 115th Fighter Wing out of Madison had to intercept a pair of Civil Air Patrol planes from units outside of Door County, including one from Appleton.  Cherryland Airport Manager Keith Kasbohm says, based on phone calls he received, people were caught unaware of the exercise and so was he.



Kasbohm says the Door County Sheriff's Office was also kept busy taking calls from people about the low flying aircraft.

Gibraltar's food truck lawsuit tab over $4,700

The town of Gibraltar has spent over $4,700 in legal fees in its fight with White Cottage Red Door over its food truck. The business filed the lawsuit against the Town of Gibraltar on October 9th, claiming its ban on food trucks was unconstitutional. Through an open records request last month, learned the town has been billed just over $4,700 for 24 hours of work by a Milwaukee-based law firm. The document with redactions includes charges for sent emails, phone calls, and case review.  Earlier this month, Door County Circuit Court set the date for a telephone scheduling conference and a motion hearing for February 1st. Previous requests for comment from Town Chairperson Richard Skare have been denied. 


Click on the link to see the invoice for services provided for the Town of Gibraltar:

Sturgeon Bay couple to host holiday dinner

A Sturgeon Bay couple is inviting the entire community to dine with their family before they head to Christmas Eve mass. Kyle and Carrie Starr tossed around the idea of hosting a similar event around Thanksgiving, but found that need was being met by area churches and local organizations. The Christmas season renewed the couple’s interest in the idea. Carrie says they have received tremendous support from friends since they started talking about hosting the event.

The Starr family will host the Christmas Eve dinner at the Knights of Columbus building in Sturgeon Bay from noon to 2 p.m.


Casco robbery gives pause to roadside deeds

A robbery in Casco Monday night is giving good Samaritans extra pause when it comes to helping stranded motorists. At around 8 p.m., a woman stopped near the intersection of County highways A and C for someone she thought was stranded. Instead, a masked man described as tall, white, and in his mid-20s, greeted her with a knife and a demand for money. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says each person must decide if they want to get involved with a situation but should take proper precautions.


Joski encourages people to call the county’s dispatch center if they see motorists stranded or other suspicious behavior. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the incident as the search for the robber continues. 

Christmas gift pick-up underway at Kewaunee Pantry

Some Kewaunee County families will be able to give their kids a Christmas to remember with help from the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.  This week nearly two-dozen families are able to pick up gifts donated to the pantry's Giving Tree program.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says some area churches are stepping in as Santa's helpers.



The next Christmas gift pick up day at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry will be Wednesday, December 19th from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. 


Public input wanted on Horseshoe Bay Farm's future

The new owners of the Historic Horseshoe Bay Farms are dedicated to preserving the property and the unique buildings that date back to the late 1800s.  The Horseshoe Bay Farms complex was recently sold to Horseshoe Bay Farms Incorporated, a historic preservation charity led by the family of Lorie and David Nicholas.  The organization is working in partnership with the Door County Community Foundation.  Bret Bicoy, the foundation president and CEO, says while the group has plans for the property it also values ideas from the public for future use.



Bicoy says the Horseshoe Bay Farms property is one of the most intact farms within Wisconsin.  In the 1950s it was Door County largest employer, especially during the summer cherry harvest when young people from urban areas would sign up for the Cherry Camps.



Bicoy says under Horseshoe Bay Farms, Incorporated ownership people will now be able to see this piece of Door County history up close.


(Photograph courtesy of

Seasonal changes coming to ferry

The Washington Island Ferry is making two changes in the coming weeks as it prepares for the winter season. The first change begins this Friday when ferry riders will be required to make vehicle reservations. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says there are many reasons why they make sure they have vehicle reservations phoned in during the next three months.

The Washington Island Ferry runs four round-trips between its Northport and Detroit Harbor docks until January 2nd before it cuts its number in half through March 21st

Fight over a fence

“Good fences make good neighbors” is an old adage getting a new test in the Kewaunee County township of Montpelier. Two neighbors are fighting over a fence put up between the two properties. The Kahle residence has animals and wanted to put up a fence that went onto the neighboring Husnik property. Montpelier told Husnik that they had to put up their half of the fence, and so it was built over the summer. However, Kahle is still not happy with the fence says Scott Jahnke, Chairman of Montpelier. Kahle will show up at the town monthly meeting.



The Montpelier town meeting is tomorrow night at 7:30 PM at the Montpelier Community Center. 

Woman robbed in Casco

A woman looking to help a person in need was robbed by knifepoint Monday night in Casco.  At around 8 p.m. near the intersection of County Highways A and C, the woman stopped to see if a motorist on the side of the road needed her help. She instead found a masked man with a knife demanding money. According to the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, the suspect is a white man in his early 20s with a black jacket and ski mask. He was last seen driving north on County Highway C in a dark-colored pickup truck with no cap on it. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is encouraging people to contact them with any information they might have as they continue their investigation. 

Children's Book Drive nets over 1000 books

 Underprivileged youth in the area will have more books to choose and read during the holidays.   The 2018 Children’s Book Drive wrapped up this past weekend in Door and Kewaunee Counties by collecting more than 400 books over last year’s total of approximately 600.   Feed My People of Door County Director Stella Huff explains how the books will be distributed before Christmas and into the next year.  



 Over 1,000 books were dropped off the past six weeks at Craig’s Piggly Wiggly in Algoma and Bayside Home Medical in Sturgeon Bay.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry in Algoma will handle distributing books to children throughout Kewaunee County over the next few weeks.    

LWVDC statement on signing of bills by Governor Walker

The League of Women Voters of Door County has come out against the process by which the state put through sweeping legislation that was signed by Governor Walker last week.  Shirley Senarighi is the PR Coordinator of the Door County League and she says that all legislation in Wisconsin should have a fair and democratic process. That is not what happened in this situation.



Earlier this month The League came out against the bill limiting early voting to two weeks prior to an election.

Helping two officers keep the peace on Washington Island

The Washington Island Police Department faces the same crimes and challenges of medium and larger communities.  With a population of just over 700 people on a nearly 24-square mile island, the department's two officers, Chief Tyler McGrane and Officer Gary Schultz, can have their hands full when answering separate calls and can't back each other up.  Even when responding to impaired drivers or domestic dispute calls together, McGrane says they find themselves using verbal judo to calm a situation and take advantage of a more personal touch.



The Washington Island Police Department will get help from the Door County Sheriffs Department when McGrane or Schultz takes a vacation or attends training sessions.  Chief McGrane says his department's greatest asset in emergencies comes from the community itself.



It's that connection with the community that has kept Chief McGrane on the job for 20-years and Officer Schultz on patrol for eight-years.  

Algoma's 2nd District election could be empty again

For the second time in as many years, a write-in candidate may prevail for Algoma’s 2nd District aldermanic election. Last week, incumbent Jacque Wiese filed her papers of non-candidacy for her seat on the Algoma City Council. No one else has taken nomination papers out to be circulated for the district. It is a similar situation to last year when no one officially appeared on the ballot, but Scott Meverden won the 2nd district seat as a write-in. Algoma City Clerk Jamie Jackson says there are advantages to putting in the time to file nomination papers.

Interested candidates have until January 2nd at 5 p.m. to turn in nomination papers. No new names have surfaced for spots on the Kewaunee City Council according to clerk Terri Decur. Sturgeon Bay City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt could not be reached. 

EDC hopes Governor-elects budget aids economic development county by county

Door County Economic Development Executive Director Jim Schuessler hopes Governor-elect Tony Evers's budget priorities will aid business growth county by county.  Schuessler belives many smaller economic development projects would have a larger benefit state-wide.  He says too much past emphasis has been on a few large projects.



Schuessler commends Evers's "Building the People's Budget" tours with giving residents, small businesses and community groups input on budgetary decisions.

Environmental groups reactions mixed on Walker as Interior Secretary

Local environmental protection and preservation groups have mixed thoughts about the possibility of Governor Scott Walker becoming Secretary of the Interior.  Published reports over the weekend named Walker, who leaves office in January, and seven other candidates to replace Ryan Zinke, who's resigning as Interior Secretary at year's end.  Dean Hoegger, with the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin, believes Walker's record on natural resources issues should disqualify him.


Tom Clay, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust, says he'd be willing to wait and see on Walker's potential nomination.  Clay also says he has some ideas of what qualifies a candidate for Interior Secretary.



For his part,  Governor Walker indicated he has been presented with some opportunities to work in Washington, D.C. Walker also said he's planning on staying in Wisconsin.


Upbringing affects financial attitudes

Sturgeon Bay financial counselor Gay Pustaver says a person’s upbringing is one of the most common topics brought up during the over 3,000 sessions she has hosted over the years.  Regardless of age or income level, spending and saving differences between couples come up as they share finances with someone else for the first time. Although Money Management Counselors does not specialize in couples therapy, Pustaver says it often seems that way if money was not discussed beforehand.

Pustaver says many are not aware of their bad habits until it is brought up by their partner. You can listen to the entire interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story. 



Common Council looks to override veto

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will have another opportunity to approve its settlement agreement with Sawyer Hotel Development on Tuesday after it was vetoed earlier this month.  By a vote of 5-2, the council approved a settlement with hotel developer Bob Papke for $360,000. Papke’s claim was the city did not tell him about issues concerning the site’s ordinary high water mark in relation to his planned hotel. Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham vetoed the settlement, writing in a letter to city clerk Stephanie Reinhardt that he believes the council is not considering the motion’s financial implications and ignoring its legal counsel. A second 5-2 vote on Tuesday could override the veto.  The letter from Mayor Birmingham explaining his veto reasoning and the full settlement agreement are available online with this story. The Sturgeon Bay City Council will also consider hiring engineering firm Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH) to spearhead west waterfront redevelopment efforts when it meets at 7 p.m. inside its council chambers.  


Click here to see letter from Mayor Birmingham and the full settlement agreement included in Tuesday's Common Council agenda packet.

Two county projects to get committees

A planned jail facility and potential broadband expansion will get committees Tuesday if approved by the Kewaunee County Board. Both committees will feature a mixture of Kewaunee County board members, staffers, and citizens to discuss the future of both projects. The board nixed a $1 million allocation for high-speed Internet expansion when it approved its budget last month and planning for a new county jail is in its early stages. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner says he wanted to make sure he had the right mix of people to form the best committees possible.

The Kewaunee County Board will approve the appointment of these two committees and three positions in addition to weighing in on 10 different resolutions when it meets for the final time in 2018 on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the administration center in Kewaunee.  

Hotel furnishings bring $8,000 to pantry

A better than expected turnout for sales of the Karsten Hotel's furnishings brought about $8,000 to the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.  The new owners of the hotel property donated all the buildings contents to the pantry and the public had a chance to purchase the items on Sunday.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says the contents of guest's rooms were the biggest sellers.



Some items are still available and will be offered at another sale at the Karsten property on Ellis Street in Kewaunee on December 30th.  Bigger ticket items like a grand piano and a masonic hutch are being offered to the highest bidders.

Crossroads making holiday planning easier

Crossroads at Big Creek wants to make your holiday preparation a little easier. They have a whole weekend of events planned on the 22nd, 23rd, and Christmas Eve. They are all very kid-friendly. Coggin Heeringa, the Director of Crossroads at Big Creek, says this is by design to make things easier for parents during a busy time.



On Saturday the 22nd, there will be an event where kids can perform experiments with water, and one where the kids pick out a tree in the forest and decorate it for the animals. On Sunday the 23rd, there will be an after-game health hike to get people walking after sitting for a few hours watching the Packers game. And on Monday, Christmas Eve, there is a program where children can learn about how animals communicate with each other.


Crossroads is an organization that wants to help people be outside and active and learning about the environment.  

Free Christmas dinner for veterans

The Door County Veterans Service is helping put on a free dinner on Christmas Day for vets. Any former military and their immediate family are invited. Door County Veterans Service Officer Scott McFarland says there are a lot of single or elderly veterans who may not have family in the area, and this gives them a good opportunity to not have to stay home and feel lonely on Christmas.



Veterans who wish to participate are asked to call (920) 746-2226 before December 20 to make a reservation. Transportation is available to any vets who are unable to drive themselves.

The dinner starts at 1:00 PM on Christmas Day at the VFW Post 3088 Clubhouse in Sturgeon Bay.


The Door County Veterans Service is a government office that helps veterans find benefits and other services that are available to them. 

Big bingo winnings in Egg Harbor

You can win money and raise some too while playing bingo later this month in Egg Harbor. The Egg Harbor Historical Society is hosting a bingo morning where half the proceeds will go to winners in the bingo games and half will go to restoring the old Door County Bookmobile. They plan on converting it into a Historymobile and EHHS Treasurer Char Mueller talks about how they want to use it.



You can buy 1 card for $10 and 3 for $15. They will play 13 games that morning. The games are run by volunteers at the historical society. They expect a larger-than-usual crowd to show up, maybe upwards of 40 people, when normally it's about 25. That would mean more money for participants and towards the restoration. 


The bingo event will be on Saturday, December 29, at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor with the games starting at 10:00 AM. 

Issues with older headlights

A Sturgeon Bay auto repair technician has an important safety tip you might have never even imagined could be a problem.


Randy Sahs, owner of Sahs Auto Collision and Service Center, sees cloudy or yellow headlights every week and that diminishes nighttime vision.  It’s especially common with vehicles between eight and fifteen years old.


Sahs says the plastic covering light bulbs deteriorates from the UV rays of the sun.



You can avoid the damage to your headlights by parking away from the sun or in covered areas.  

Door County Silent Sports Alliance helping you stay in shape

The Door County Silent Sports Alliance wants to help keep you in shape this winter. Silent sports are activities like running, bicycling, swimming, and cross-country skiing, sports without motors. DCSSA Board member Bob Richards shared how the organization helps people find ways to stay in shape during the winter months.


The DCSSA will host their 6th annual Bridge to Bridge Fun Run and Walk at 6:00 PM on Thursday in Sturgeon Bay.

Potential new ATV/UTV ordinance

Motorists may see more ATV’s and UTV’s on area roadways if a new ordinance is passed in Kewaunee County. There’s a draft of an ordinance being put together in Kewaunee County to clarify which roads would be okay to use ATV’s and UTV’s. The proposed ordinance would allow an ATV or UTV on any road in the county with a speed limit of 35 miles an hour or less. Red River Clerk Eric Corroy says the county is not interested in the traffic or accidents that could happen on a faster road.



Simonar Sports in Luxemburg sells ATV’s and UTV’s and the V.P. Dino Simonar says that clarity would be a great thing.



The Town of Red River’s Board Meeting will be meeting again in January where this will be discussed further. 

Incredible streak continues in Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay’s very-own race car driver Bernie Reinhardt has not missed a race since the Clinton Administration. Much like Cal Ripken Jr on the diamond Bernie has his streak on the racetrack. The streak is up 386 consecutive races that started way back in 1993, and he’s planning to keep that streak alive during the 2019 season at The Hill Raceway. Bernie has won 4 league championships in 3 different type cars including back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013 in the sport-mod division. He only races at The Hill.



The Hill Raceway opened back up in 2017 by a group called PKS3 and the reopening has been a great success. As other racetracks all around the country have struggled to stay open recently, The Hill has thrived for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and look for an even better year in 2019. PKS3 member John Sternard explains that most of the members of PKS3 are former drivers themselves and how that helps them run the track.



Drivers have a meeting on January 5 where pit spots will be available to purchase. The first race of the 2019 season will be on May 18. 

Door County resident nominated for Grammy

A Door County musician, Nick Dumas, and his band, Special Consensus, have been nominated for a Grammy award. The nomination came in the category "Best Bluegrass Album" for their 2018 release titled Rivers and Roads. Dumas, who is the mandolin player and a Door County resident for about two years, has been a member of Special Consensus since 2015. The band, however, was created back in 1975. Dumas said he has been a fan of the band all of his life and throughout his start as a younger musician but never thought he would eventually join the group. He also said some of his biggest influences came from past incarnations of the group.



Dumas, who is originally from the Seattle area, said that he enjoys the peaceful nature of Door County and the friendliness of its residents. Special Consensus has won numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards, and the Grammy nomination is their second since 2013. The Grammys will be held on February 10th in Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: Hana Rass Photography

Parks committee exploring options for urban park

The Sturgeon Bay Parks and Recreation Committee has decided to do research into constructing a new park on a portion of land along Egg Harbor Road. Currently vacant, the lot is in close proximity to about 400 apartment units. The committee decided at its meeting on Wednesday to look into what the potential costs would be for an urban park, a minimally maintained park that would have trails mowed and could be used by the surrounding community. City councilperson Laurel Hauser said any discussions about the potential park are not set in stone as of yet.



According to Hauser, the committee has a comprehensive plan that states another new park will be needed in Sturgeon Bay in the future. The committee will continue the discussion at its next meeting.

Kewaunee County Historical Society publishing book with past histories


The Kewaunee County Historical Society is publishing a book with past newsletters from earlier this decade. The Riverland Journal contains all the newsletter stories sent out by the society from 2010-2014. Richard Dorner, the director of the History Center, said the society will sell copies of the book to help bring more money into the organization. It will be available throughout 2019.


The newsletter program is the biggest fundraiser the society runs. The society will be taking January off, but have several events already lined up for February where attendees can purchase the book.

Sturgeon Bay personnel committee looking for attorney

The Sturgeon Bay Personnel Committee will convene on Monday to discuss setting the date for interviews as they continue their search for a new city attorney. While the process is far from over, there have been a couple of applications put forward as the committee searches for the first new city attorney in several years. City councilperson Barbara Allmann listed one of the most important qualities they are searching for during interviews.



Allmann mentioned knowledge of municipal law is crucial as it can sometimes differ from more traditional practices. Both Allmann and councilperson David Ward said some of the biggest challenges the new attorney will face include the lawsuits the city has found itself involved.

Village of Forestville president expresses doubt over Millpond recommendation

Another public figure has expressed his concerns over the chosen recommendation on how best to deal with the Forestville Millpond. Terry McNulty, the president of the Village of Forestville, said the solution to drain the Millpond for two summers and two winters creates a potential safety hazard for the community. The pond is currently the primary water source for the Southern Door County Fire Department and previously mentioned that there weren’t many other reliable sources of water in the area to use. McNulty also said he has doubts that the solution would truly clear out any invasive aquatic species. Beyond any physical drawbacks, McNulty said the pond is too familiar for many residents to drain for so long.



McNulty said his solution would be to dredge the pond, but mentioned it could be potentially expensive as it covers a large area. An informational hearing to discuss the Millpond is set for Wednesday.

Door County Historical Society reflecting on 2018 season

After a busy 2018 season, the Door County Historical Society is taking a couple of months off before returning next February with a full set of ideas. It was a successful year for the organization, with attendance increasing and members taking advantage of the multiple benefits provided. However, the society is already looking toward the future. Bailey Koepsel, executive director of the Door County Historical Society, mentioned the project she is most looking forward to.



Koepsel also said how important volunteers are to their operation, and said that while they could always use more, it is those who take time out of their schedule to help that keep things running smoothly. The Door County Historical Society will reopen next February.

Churches dealing with age-related loneliness through community efforts

As the population of Door County continues to age, some local churches are reaching out to older citizens to help combat loneliness in the community. According to recent census data, 28.9 percent of Door County and 18.7 percent of Kewaunee County citizens are above the age of 65 and an increasing number of them are finding their twilight years spent alone.  This has prompted some area churches to make coordinated efforts to get in touch with older members to make them feel welcome in the community. Michael Sullivan, the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kewaunee, said he promotes looking beyond oneself.



In addition, Friends Community Church pastor Nancy Bontempo said she feels as if some older residents might not feel as if they fit into a changing world, even in a church setting. She said she has seen an increase of older residents who seek a more traditional church environment than the more worship-style experience.

Kewaunee County keeps pace with Tots demand

As the demand for gifts from the local Toys for Tots increases, so does the generosity of Kewaunee County residents. Kewaunee County Toys for Tots organizer Matt Joski says the average year serves approximately 70 to 75 families. This year, he says they are well over 80 preregistered families that will converge on Kewaunee Grade School for the toy pickup event next Saturday. Joski says he has noticed an increase in the toys he is collecting at the over 30 sites across the county, including at Friday's live remote broadcast at Krohn Cheese Store.


Toys can still be dropped off at participating sites throughout Kewaunee County through next Friday. 

Holy Trinity Pastor enjoying life in the Luxemburg-Casco area

It has been an adjustment from growing up in Oshkosh, but the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Casco is enjoying the slower pace of life. Pastor Daniel Schuster came to the area three months ago after being ordained a priest ten years ago. He previously served the Diocese of Green Bay as a vocation director with the task of finding more people to become priests and nuns. Even though he had an inkling of his calling to the priesthood in seventh grade, he went to college to earn a business degree before eventually heading to Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. He has been happy to see the local involvement at the churches and their schools.


Schuster credits God for bringing people before him that planted the Gospel well in the community.

CNA students return for Project Poinsettia

Friday's Project Poinsettia stop at Algoma Long Term Care Unit was more than just an hour of community service for four Algoma High School students. Hannah Wessel, Bailey Bomber, Treena Siebold and Faith Fenendael recently completed a semester of clinical training at the facility  as a part of their Certified Nursing Assistant program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Luxemburg Regional Learning Center. Fenendael says she took the course because she was interested in getting into the medical field and helping people on a daily basis. Her semester at Algoma Long Term Care Unit has only increased her passion for the field.


Fenendael says Project Poinsettia was a great opportunity to reconnect with some of the residents and bring a smile to their face.  Project Poinsettia is an annual initiative organized by to help bring the holiday spirit to those residing at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where many do not have visitors during the year.  

Chambers Island Nature Preserve expands again

The 600-acre Chambers Island Nature Preserve has grown by 50 acres.  The Door County Land Trust acquired two more parcels of land on the island.  Those include a 10-acre hardwood and hemlock forest and a 40-acre mixed hardwood forest.  Door County Land Trust Development Director Cinnamon Rossman says both locations adjoin the preserve. 



Rossman says the new lands will preserve woodlands that are unlike any on the Door County mainland.



The Door County Land Trust is working now to acquire one more parcel which will allow for expansion of foot trails through the Chambers Island Nature Preserve.

Bicoy named Wisconsin Senate Scholar

Sturgeon Bay High School junior Nalani Bicoy is heading to Madison in February as a part of the Wisconsin Senate Scholar program. Students get the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of government for one week at the capitol after having their applications sponsored by a sitting state senator. Following up on the recommendation of her friend, Bicoy believes it is extremely important for students to learn how their government works.


Bicoy is active in her school and her community with activities such as running on the cross country team while serving on her church’s board of deacons as a student representative. 

Door County Reads 2019 looks at lakes in peril

The Door County Library will take readers through the dangers facing the Great Lakes and a modern-day tale based on the Voyageurs.  The 2019 Door County Reads program features reviews and discussions of "The Life and Death of the Great Lakes" by Dan Eagan.  Youth Services Librarian Beth Lokken says Eagan's book is like a story still being written.



Water is also a theme in the other selection for Door County Reads.  "Wintering" by Peter Geye is a combined modern day version of the trials faced by some of the early Great Lakes explorers and a mystery.



Copies of the books will be available at library branches starting December 17th with discussions held weekly through February 15th.

Students to present their programs at Algoma School Board meeting

Student-run initiatives will take the spotlight at Monday’s Algoma School Board meeting.  Its student mentoring Wolves and Pups program and its after-school Wolf Den initiative are among the items high schoolers will give updates to the school board. Its newest program will connect students with local businesses to show off the different career opportunities available in the area. Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart says this goes beyond its WolfTech technical education program, which already partners with local manufacturers to make different component parts.



Cochart believes student involvement in these programs is also translating to higher achievement in the classroom.  

Workforce development director urges work release for skilled inmates

Wisconsin businesses in need of skilled labor can find trained workers behind bars.  That's one of many suggestions that Governor-elect Tony Evers got during his Building the People's Budget Tour.  Jim Golembeski, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, told Evers staffers there are prison inmates trained in the skills many businesses need.  He adds hiring inmates would not come at the expense of other workers.



Golembeski says he'd like to see wider spread use of work release programs to give more prison inmates practical experience they can use when they're released.

Manure spills could give Kewaunee County's first test of new ordinance

Fines could be on the way for several farmers in Kewaunee County thanks to a new ordinance passed earlier this year. A dozen manure spills have been reported to the Wisconsin Department of  Natural Resources since August. It was an even split between farms classified as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and non-CAFOs with causes including faulty equipment, human error, and saturating rains. Kewaunee County’s Chapter 39 ordinance gives the Land and Water Conservation Department jurisdiction to respond to manure spill calls at non-CAFO farms and operations where the DNR has not responded to investigate and even fine violators.  Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee member Lee Luft says the ordinance virtually mirrors what was passed on the state level. 



The Chapter 39 ordinance was approved by the Kewaunee County Board in August after the state approved stricter NR-151 rules limiting farmers where and when they could spread manure on their fields. 

New SUV squads on hold for Door County Sheriffs Department

 Heavy demand by police agencies nationwide for Ford Explorers is forcing Door County to hold on to older patrol vehicles longer.  Ford is redesigning the Explorer into a gas/hybrid model.  The current gasoline-only model is popular with police agencies.  When Ford announced the redesign, the company placed a deadline on orders for the current models.  So many police agencies placed orders that Ford limited deliveries and Door County has received two of the eight ordered.  Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says that leaves all police departments and dealers in an uncertain position.




McCarty says the department can get by with the high-mileage vehicles it has, for now.



Ford is shutting down production on the gasoline-only Explorer line in February and will begin production on the gas-hybrid police interceptor models in June.


(Photo from

Sturgeon Bay hires firm to get public input on waterfront use

Sturgeon Bay's Ad Hoc Westside Waterfront Planning Committee is recommending the city hire a Madison-based firm to get public input on future uses of the waterfront.  The committee chose the civil engineering firm SEH of Madison.  Ad hoc Committee Chair Laurel Hauser says the firm has the experience Sturgeon Bay needs to find the best use of the westside waterfront area.



The committee's recommendation to hire SEH will go to the full City Council for consideration at the December 18th meeting. 

Sister Bay food pantry keeping busy

Door of Life Food Pantry is seeing an uptick in activity this winter. Open 24/7, the food pantry is tucked inside the front entry of Door of Life Christian Church in Sister Bay. Pantry organizer Heidi Penchoff is seeing plenty of activity throughout the day, even though people donating and receiving items are anonymous. She says unemployed seasonal workers and the elderly are the ones using the food pantry the most at this time of the year.



Penchoff says personal items and quick meals like soups and pancakes are the items in most need right now. Donors can leave items at the pantry on the shelf or in the freezer at any time.

Missing Baileys Harbor man found safe

A man reported missing in the Town of Baileys Harbor Thursday evening was found safe after a brief search.   The Door County Sheriffs Office was contacted about a 76-year-old man who lived in the area of County Highway Q and Birch Road had gone hiking and not returned.  A search was organized and the subject was located by a conservation warden at 8:46 PM, about three hours after the Sheriffs Office was notified.  Wardens helped the man out of the woods, turned him over to paramedics, who then took him home.  The Sheriffs Office says the search area was a large, road-less tract of heavily wooded land. Search efforts were further
hampered by darkness and poor cell phone coverage. The subject told responders he had been walking on a trail and had lost his bearings. Other than being cold, he was not injured.

School canceled at Gibraltar due to power outage

Gibraltar Area School District children got an unexpected day off from school Friday when a power outage caused the school to close. Students on buses heading to campus headed back to their homes according to the school's Facebook page. Updates on the day's activities at the school, which includes a boys' basketball game against Kewaunee, will be given at a later time. 

Door County Medical Center CEO Jerry Worrick retires

The New Year will bring a big change at the helm of Door County Medical Center.  President and CEO Jerry Worrick will retire from that post on January 5th after 31-years of service.  Worrick is credited with improving the patient experience and building DCMC's Cancer Care Center, which allows patients to get treatment closer to home.  Current Chief Administrative Officer Brian Stephens has been named to succeed Worrik.  Stephens says he hopes to continue building up Worrik's successes.




Stephens has been with Door County Medical Center for 13-years and put together a curriculum with Worrick, which they reviewed every two weeks for the past 18 months in anticipation of Worrik's retirement.

Post offices swamped with holiday packages

Local post offices are processing more and more packages as Christmas Day approaches.  

The Sturgeon Bay Post Office says parcel volume started increasing the weekend after Thanksgiving and is still on the rise.  Postmaster Don Erdmann says package drop-offs and deliveries are already ahead of 2017.


In order to get holiday packages to their destinations in time for Christmas, Erdmann says First Class and Priority Mail are your best bets within the U.S.  Those have to be sent out by December 20th.  For packages bound for military installations, Priority Mail Express is the best option and need to be postmarked by December 16th.

A YMCA's decision to cancel news channels has the local Y talking

The buzz around the Door County YMCA is about another Y's drastic decision. The Stevens Point YMCA has blocked cable news channels from TV sets in the workout rooms.  That decision came early this month after one member berated another over a cable news program.  Door County YMCA President and CEO Tom Beernsten says such behavior hasn't happened in Sturgeon Bay.  He says, however, Door County Y staff are always watching out for inappropriate language and actions.



Some private health clubs in Minnesota faced similar problems with heated discussions between members because of what was on TV.  So they've also blocked only the all-news channels at their businesses.   

How a government shutdown could impact local veterans


There are steps that local veterans and families of active duty military members should and should not take in the event of a government shutdown.  The tone of President Trump's meeting with Democratic Congressional leaders his week raised concerns that a shutdown could be a real possibility.  Door County Veterans Service Officer Scott McFarland says the information he's currently receiving indicates that a shutdown would not affect military or veterans pensions and Social Security.  McFarland says, however, he's heard that before.



McFarland suggests some steps veterans and military families can take should a shutdown happen.



Funding expires for a number of key government agencies on December 21st at midnight. 

Local groups keep the holidays jolly through music

From high school musicians to Broadway singers, groups in Door and Kewaunee counties are carrying a tune along with the holiday spirit. Local high schools are starting to wrap up their winter band and choir concerts before they have their Christmas break. Kewaunee High School band teacher Kelton Jennings says it helps students to play familiar songs, but it does not hurt to challenge them either with certain arrangements.



Northern Sky Theater has been holding its “Home for the Holidays” show for over a decade. This year the show features music director Ryan Cappleman, Northern Sky Theater artistic director Jeff Herbst, and Broadway performer Tom Donoghue. Unlike any other time of the year, Herbst says music plays an important role at Christmas.


Kewaunee, Luxemburg-Casco, Southern Door, and Gibraltar high schools will host some of their winter concerts Sunday and Monday, while Northern Sky Theater’s Home for the Holidays runs December 28th through 31st. You can listen to last weekend’s Ask the Expert with Northern Sky Theater and see our schedule of winter concert broadcasts of seven Door and Kewaunee county schools online with this story.  





Algoma: December 19

Kewaunee: December 20th

Sturgeon Bay: December 21st

Luxemburg-Casco: December 22nd

Southern Door: December 23rd

Sevastopol: December 24th

Gibraltar: December 25th





Door County roundabouts doing their jobs with safety

Crash statistics at Door County’s two roundabouts support the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s belief the roadway features are doing their job. From the day they opened in July 2016 to the end of 2017, the roundabout at State Highway 42/57 and Michigan Street had eight property-damaging crashes and one minor injury. The roundabout at State Highway 42/57 and Egg Harbor Road saw the same number of minor injuries but 11 property damaging crashes. Mark Kantola from the Wisconsin DOT says the good thing about those crashes is they were due to a failure to yield, which is correctable.



Kantola says drivers also have to remember roundabouts are not just for them as they are also designed to keep the crossings safe for pedestrians. There have been no accidents involving pedestrians since the roundabouts were added. 

Liberty Grove advises on RV park concept

The Town of Liberty Grove Plan Commission heard a local business owner's concept for an RV park in Sister Bay on Wednesday evening.  Terry Wurster, owner of Dovetail Trading on Highway 42, presented a rough draft of a proposed campground that would include 60 RV camping sites and 10 tent camping sites.  Town Administrator Bud Kalms says the commission offered Wurster information on the regulatory process needed for such a project.



Kalms says after that review period the town can make recommendations about any needed changes it would like to see on the project.

Southern Door Fire Department concerned over Forestville Millpond solution

 A suggestion to drawdown the Forestville Millpond over an extended period of time has raised concerns from the Southern Door Fire Department. According to the press release announcing the meeting for next Wednesday, the Parks Committee and the Soil and Water Committee will recommend a drawdown of the Millpond for two summers and two winters in an attempt to raise water quality and remove invasive aqautic species. However, the fire department has mentioned that a full drawdown could disrupt its normal operations as the Millpond serves its predominant water source. Randy Massart, assistant fire chief at the Southern Door Fire Department, said that while the department does have other places to draw water from, there would be too many problems to resume working as usual.

The Millpond also provides water to the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department. Massart said a shorter drawdown of the Millpond could still be effective without disrupting the activities of the fire department. The pond was formed in 1887 following construction of the Forestville Dam and is a popular destination for those visiting the area.

Sturgeon Bay churches remember loved ones with special service

The holiday season is not a joyous time for everyone and three Sturgeon Bay area churches are making sure they are not alone on the longest night of the year. The third annual “Longest Night” service will take place at Friends Community Church on the day of the Winter Solstice. The service centers around special hymns and passages to help people cope with the loss of loved ones during the holiday season, a time when deaths usually spike according to a 2013 study. Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo hopes people who attend the service realize that on the longest night of the year, things get brighter.



The “Longest Night” service, also known as a Blue Christmas liturgy, begins at 6:30 p.m. on December 21st at Friends Community Church in cooperation with Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and Tanum Forest Lutheran Church. 

Kitchens named Assembly chair for environment committee

The First District will have the lead voice on environmental issues in the state after Rep. Joel Kitchens was named the chairperson of the Assembly Environment Committee. The First District has been in the limelight over the last few years because of its ongoing water contamination concerns due to manure spreading and aging septic tank systems. Rep. Kitchens says there needs to be a good balance of economic development and protecting the environment.



Rep. Kitchens says the results following the adoption of new, stricter NR-151 rules will also be important as it relates to protecting ground and surface water. 

Dense fog warning in effect until 10 a.m.

Motorists in Door and Kewaunee counties are being warned to drive cautiously this morning as the area is currently under a dense fog advisory until 10 a.m. The National Weather Service issued the warning last night as parts of the area were also seeing snow and freezing rain. The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department gave motorists a heads up last night on Facebook on the icy road conditions and that the Kewaunee County Highway Department would be hitting the roads to treat them. Motorists are encouraged to use their headlights on low beams, drive slowly, and give other drivers plenty of space. A chance of snow is expected tonight before the weather clears up for the weekend. 

Workforce development official at Evers budget event

 The Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board was among those at a listening session with Governor-elect Tony Evers in Green Bay.  Jim Golembeski applauded the meeting and the small group sessions that helped attendees share their views on the upcoming budget talks and other issues.  Golembeski suggested changes to better manage job creation funds.



Golembeski also recommended more work-release options for prison inmates who've learned in-demand job skills, such as welding, to work for businesses that need them.

Lincoln will sue over water project

The Kewaunee County Town of Lincoln plans legal action against a company hired to install water systems in five homes. The Town Board of Lincoln voted last week to sue for about the $30,000 they feel they are owed by Stonehouse Water Technologies. In the spring of 2017 Stonehouse installed new water systems in five Lincoln homes. They were hired to help the groundwater contamination. Lincoln says SWT was deceptive in not following up their promises of monitoring the five houses. Lincoln Town Chairman Cory Cochart says letters have been exchanged in the last couple of months, but nothing has been resolved. Since the Lincoln Board only meets once per month, he’s frustrated that this process could be dragged out for a long time.



The Lincoln Town Board Members will be meeting again in January to discuss it further.

Secret Santas pay off layaways in Sturgeon Bay

Some Sturgeon Bay shoppers who put gifts on layaway received unexpected gifts themselves.  Eleven people who came to the Sturgeon Bay Walmart December 10th to pick up their layaways learned were all paid in full.  Assistant Manager Geoff Pinney says he got quite a story from the associates who were working in the layaway area on Sunday.  



Pinney says the grateful recipients wasted little time in sharing that generosity.



Pinney says it's not the first time the couple has paid off others layaway items at Christmas time.  He thinks he knows who they are and is honoring their request for anonymity.

Kewaunee names new public works director

Brandon Strelow has been named Kewaunee Public Works Director.  Strelow previously served as Water and Wastewater Supervisor for the City of Tomahawk, Wisconsin.  The Appleton native says coming to Kewaunee will offer new opportunities to put his 15-years of experience to work for taxpayers.



Strelow also served in the private sector and with the Town of Hilbert.


Area teens go from at-risk youths to cadets

Two Sturgeon Bay teenagers will mark their transformation from at-risk youth to graduates of the Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy.  17-year-old Ryan Witak and 17-year-old Mikayla Schaefer will graduate December 15th along with 86 other cadets from all over the state.  The 22-week academy uses a structured, military-style setting to help cadets improve their academic abilities, build self-confidence and discipline.  Witak and Schaefer say those traits were lacking in their lives.



Witak and Schaefer say the challenge academy is helping them plan for brighter futures.



Cadets earn three-credits for college. They also work with hometown mentors to help keep moving toward a better future.

Door County memories to last a lifetime with state park photo journal

When Kristi Johnson visited state parks in Door County she wanted a way to make the memories last a lifetime.  So the Holmen school teacher and burgeoning entrepreneur created “Wisconsin State Parks Treklist Adventures Photo Journal.”


Johnson says her scrapbooks provide an opportunity to give memories of visiting Wisconsin state parks new life through words and pictures.



Many people, she explains, visit one state park and set a family goal of visiting all fifty.  “Wisconsin State Parks Treklist Adventures Photo Journal” is the perfect way to remember Door County’s five state parks, scenic beauty and shorelines, she says.  Each park has its own page for journaling memories and posting photos.


The scrapbooks are available on Amazon starting at $29.95 and at the offices of in Sturgeon Bay.  You can take a look at


West side housing development moves forward

The Sturgeon Bay Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee took action on two considerations impacting development on the west side. 


The committee, headed by David Ward, voted unanimously to have the city continue negotiating a right-of-way acquisition extending Grant Avenue to Sawyer Drive.  The land parcel is owned by Tim Ruenger who is opposed to connecting the two roadways.  The City previously offered $9670 to acquire the 2.44 acres needed. 


According to Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak, the City of Sturgeon Bay may be obligated to connect the roadways due to a Department of Transportation memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Sturgeon Bay back in 2008.  That was from an access permit for the Hopf development that was never completed. 


The other approved consideration Tuesday night was the pre-annexation agreement for a $15 million project by Duquaine Development on West Oak Street/Sawyer Drive.  That action would have the city annex property from the Town of Nasawaupee.  The project would plan for eight 20-unit buildings for single-family housing.  That recommendation will now go before the common council at next Tuesday’s regular meeting.    

Business owners stress buy local importance

The economic development initiative in Door County is just one part in getting people to shop locally, according to two Sturgeon Bay business owners.   Jim Olson, who owns three car dealerships, and Davis DeWolfe, owner of Mattress by Appointment that opened earlier this fall, say the buying local message cannot be overstated.  Olson says the Door County Economic Development Corporation has done a nice job supporting businesses in emphasizing it.  He says buying local makes a huge difference.



DeWolfe says local consumers and business owners need to look out for each other. 



According to American Express, 93 percent of Americans believe it is important to support small business in their community.  Almost three-quarters, 73 percent, consciously shop at small businesses in their community because they don’t want them to go away.    

Rise in tobacco alternatives prompting parental education

Although cigarette use has declined among middle and high school students, the continued rise of alternatives has prompted one school district to move in an attempt to educate parents. The Sturgeon Bay School District has included in their Clipper Connection newsletter an attachment on the dangers of e-cigarettes, "Vapes", and JUULs, three of the most prominent alternatives. The makers of these products claim to be safer than cigarettes, but critics claim that there are still enough harmful effects to hurt those who use them. Cath Tease, coalition co-coordinator at re:TH!NK, said the rise of these alternatives might lead back to the normalization of smoking traditional cigarettes.


Sturgeon Bay High School resource officer Roxanne Meikle said the release of the information is more preemptive than reactionary, but parents should still educate themselves so that they may talk to their children on the dangers of smoking alternatives. She pointed out JUULs as the most dangerous of the three because of USB-like design, making it easier to hide from parents and teachers.

Land Trust Executive Director encouraged by Evers council

Governor-elect Tony Evers' advisors on agriculture, energy and natural resources issues are getting a good review from the Door County Land Trust.  The Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources Policy Advisory Council are made up of 25 members from business, farming and environmental protection groups.  Tom Clay, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust, believes the advisory council will set good courses for Evers to follow.  He believes the new administration will see environmental protection and preservation as good investments.



Clay believes the organizations represented on the advisory council will take a proactive approach to environmental issues.  

Local grower on keeping enough Christmas trees

While Christmas is two weeks away, a local Christmas tree grower says his business is slowing down.  Jeff Aissen, of Aiseen Tree Farm in Pilsen, says you won't find him marking down his prices as Christmas Day approaches.  That's because he's learned over time never to cut down more trees than needed in order to protect his future business.


In his second year of business, Aissen says he had 15 trees still on his lot in Green Bay.  With help from other growers, he learned how to plan to meet demand.  Last year, he did have two trees left over and those ended up in his house.

Loss of public access channels would hurt Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay residents may no longer be able to follow city council meetings, community choir concerts or future Christmas parades on cable TV under rule changes proposed by the FCC.  The agency is considering rules changes that would require communities to pay cable providers for use of public access channels. Providing free channels for community use has been at the heart of franchise agreements between cable providers and the municipalities they serve.  Jason Mann, of the City of Sturgeon Bay Public Access, says if the rules are changed it could be too expensive for communities to support access channels and end some popular programming.





Mann says changes in technology have created more viewing options for people and more competition for cable companies.





Wisconsin Community Media and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities have gone on record in a letter to the FCC opposing the rules changes for public access channels.

Algoma's Charles, Kewaunee's Griffith to step away from city councils

There will be at least one new face on the Algoma City Council and Kewaunee City Council this spring.


In Algoma, District 1 alderperson Bruce Charles turned in his papers of non-candidacy. Running for his seat will be John Pabich, who recently took out nomination papers to be circulated. Incumbents Mitch Groessl and Lee Dachelet have taken out nomination papers for their respective districts while no one has taken the forms out to run in District 2, currently held by Jacque Wiese.


John Griffith declared his non-candidacy for his District 3 aldermanic seat in Kewaunee. In his place could be Joe Mills, who ran for Kewaunee mayor earlier this year. Incumbent alderpersons Art Schiller, Jeff Dworak, and Dave Kuehl have all taken out nomination papers for their respective districts.


Prospective candidates have until January 2nd to turn in the proper paperwork to run for office. Possible primaries would take place in February before the spring election in April.

Bay Lakes Council hopes growth in girl recruitment continues

Senior District Executive Chris O’Brien hopes to see the growth of girls joining the Boy Scouts of America spread into Door and Kewaunee counties.  In the Voyageur District, which covers Brown, Door, and Kewaunee counties, approximately 30 girls have joined Cub Scout packs since they were first allowed to earlier this year.  Four to five all-girl units are also forming before the newly rebranded Scouts USA begins admitting members in February 2019. O’Brien says the numbers should grow as units become more established.



O’Brien believes a major draw for girls to the Scouts USA program will be the ability to earn the Eagle Scout rank.  The award is the highest a scout can earn and one that is highly regarded across the country despite other youth-driven organizations like 4-H and Girl Scouts having similar honors.  

Farmers continue to work on outreach with its neighbors

Ninety dozen cookies is just one way farmers like Dairy Dreams owner Don Niles are trying to connect with their neighbors. It has been over two years since Niles, the late John Pagel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, and Lee Kinnard of Kinnard Farms took some responsibility for groundwater concerns in Kewaunee County with hopes of finding ways to fix it. One way has been working with organizations like UW Discovery Farms and hosting field days at area operations to show off some of the new practices potentially available. Niles believes the tenor of the conversation is changing as more people see farmers trying to do their part.


As for the cookies, Niles says the almost-two decade practice is just one example of what people can do to have a conversation with others and address concerns face-to-face. 

RV campground concept before Town of Liberty Grove

The Town of Liberty Grove Plan Commission will learn more about a local business owner's concept of an RV campground in Sister Bay.  Terry Wurster, owner of Dovetail Trading on Highway 57, will present his idea for 60 RV sites and ten tent sites on property adjacent to his business when the commission meets Wednesday evening.  Town Administrator Bud Kalms says Wurster wants to hear the township's views on his idea.



The Town of Liberty Grove Plan Commission meets Wednesday at 7:00 PM at the Town Hall on Old Stage Road. 

Door County looks beyond Wisconsin to fill jobs

Door County is stepping up efforts to attract workers for jobs that local employers are struggling to fill.  Part of the Door County Economic Development Corporation's strategy is to look for candidates outside of Wisconsin.  Christina Studebaker, Workforce Development, Business and Education Partnership Manager,  says the EDC's efforts are to target those with the needed skill sets or who have the ability to train or retrain quickly.



Studebaker says another selling point is letting job hunters know some Door County employers are willing to provide on the job training to the right candidates. 

Habitat volunteers add days to make deadline

Door County Habitat for Humanity volunteers are adding extra days to make sure the organization’s 41st home is ready for its dedication. The organization was a month behind before they ever broke ground due to a lack of partner family and contractors being tied up with other jobs. Construction supervisor Chuck Stone has been on site for more than the standard two build days a week just to beat the dedication deadline. He says installing the flooring this week will allow them to put on the final touches.



Stone pointed out several small groups like local Coast Guard members and students from UW-Milwaukee helped take the load off its core volunteer crew throughout the build. The Purdy family will see their new home built by Door County Habitat for Humanity dedicated next Thursday at 2:30 p.m. 

Papke settlement with City of Sturgeon Bay is for $360,000

Developer Bob Papke accepted a settlement offer of $360,000 from the Sturgeon Bay Common Council on Papke’s lawsuit which originally sought over $500,000.  The amount was found in a Public Records Request sought by   Papke claimed the city did not tell him about issues concerning the ordinary high water mark where his planned hotel was expected to sit.  According to a news release last Friday by City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout, Mayor Thad Birmingham has exercised his veto authority on the matter.  The Common Council will reconsider the issue at the next regular meeting on December 18.  A two-thirds vote (5 of 7) of the entire council is required to override the veto.  The previous motion passed 5-2.  

Sister Bay looks at solar collector use in a business district


The Sister Bay Plan Commission will discuss the permissible uses of solar panels in the B-1 business district, along Highway 42.  Under the current zoning code, buildings in the district can use solar panels with limits on where they can be installed.  Plan Commission Chair Denise Bhirdo says the commission will see whether those limits should be revised.



The Sister Bay Plan Commission meets Tuesday at 5:30 PM in the fire station on Mill Road in Sister Bay.   

Possible Shopko bankruptcy a concern for Northern Door County

Reports that Shopko may file for bankruptcy are raising concerns in Northern Door and Kewaunee Counties.  Sun Capital Partners, the parent company of Shopko, has unsuccessfully tried to find a buyer and last week announced it was closing 39 stores including one in Mauston, Wisconsin.  Shopko operates Shopko Hometown stores in Kewaunee and Sister Bay.  Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim Schuessler is hopeful a new buyer can be found because of the Sister Bay store's importance to Northern Door County.



All of the Shopko Hometown stores were created after the company acquired the Pamida chain to expand its reach to shoppers in smaller communities. 

Crossroads at Big Creek trails ready for grooming once the snow comes


The right amount of snow has yet to arrive at the Crossroads at Big Creek.  The trails, however, will be ready to groom once the snow accumulations reach six-inches.  Still, Crossroads at Big Creek Director Coggin Heeringa says with the ground sufficiently frozen and a good winter storm cross-country skiers will need to wait just a bit before taking to the trails.




Grooming takes time with cross-country ski trails stretching over six miles.

Collaboration to get more employees for Door County manufacturers

Door County manufacturers are working together to help fill the personnel needs of the businesses. Manufacturing Day held this past fall brought students to their facilities, but also potential new employees as businesses look to fill over 400 openings in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park. NEW Industries owner Chris Moore says it is important for people to know that once they learn to be a machinist, they will most likely always have a job waiting for them.



Moore believes manufacturing is especially becoming more attractive as it invests more in technology and computers, something millennials are gravitating towards in their future careers.



Fairchild running for mayor of Sturgeon Bay

 Shawn Fairchild began circulating papers on Monday to run for mayor of Sturgeon Bay.  A 35 year resident of the city, Fairchild has been involved in businesses and a member of the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront organization over the years.  He says he wants to bring a leadership and vision to Sturgeon Bay that has been lacking in the past.



 Fairchild says the role of the mayor is to reflect the ideas and input from the community to the city council and administration.  District 3 Councilmember David Ward announced last week that he was running for mayor as well.  Mayor Thad Birmingham has not made his intentions known if he is seeking re-election.  Candidates have until January 2nd to submit their nomination papers.  

Holiday spending up despite slow payoff

Financial counselors like Jacksonport’s Gay Pustaver have their work cut out for them as Christmas is just over two weeks away. Holiday spending is projected to go up approximately four percent from last year to over $1,000 for the average consumer according to the National Retail Federation. This is despite over 40 million Americans trying to figure out how to pay off 2017’s Christmas bills. Spending on top of last year’s holiday debt can add to the stress of the season. Pustaver, the executive director of Sturgeon Bay-based Money Management Counselors, says just because items make it on your child’s wish list does not mean you have to buy it.



A recent survey by T. Rowe Price showed 45 percent of parents believe they need to try to buy everything on their kids’ lists, even if it means financing more of their purchases or sacrificing their retirement savings down the road.

Gibraltar Area School Board emphasizes individual staff members' voices

In the weeks after Wisconsin Education Association Council unions held recertification votes, the Gibraltar Area School Board is making sure teachers know they still have a voice. Approximately 98 percent of Wisconsin’s school district unions approved recertification last month, including unanimous approvals by members at Luxemburg-Casco and Sevastopol.  According to an email from Gibraltar Area School District Board President Mark Weborg, a number of small groups feel they are not currently represented. To be fair to all, he wrote, “we will treat every employee the same.” You can read the full statement from Weborg online with this story. A call to a Gibraltar school teacher for comment was directed to Superintendent Tina Van Meer, who turned the duty for a response to Weborg. Other than Luxemburg-Casco and Sevastopol, there are no other certified school district unions in Door and Kewaunee counties.


The GEA is not a certified union through the legal process for the state of Wisconsin. The board still speaks to individuals that associate as the GEA, but the GEA is not a legally recognized union.

Under Act 10, all unions are required to "certify" through an annual election. The decision to certify annually as a union is a decision solely for the GEA. It is not a district decision.

The Board is simply recognizing that all employees have an individual voice.

Egg Harbor fire fighter creates care packages for a colleague and his National Guard unit

When Egg Harbor Fire Fighter and Army National Guard member Jason Staats deploys to Afghanistan, he and his unit will be getting treats from co-workers and the community. Egg Harbor Fire Fighter Ashley Bittorf is starting a specific collection for care packages for Staats and members of the National Guard 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry unit.  The guard members are currently training at Ft. Bliss, Texas and will deploy to Afghanistan in February.  Bittorf says care packages will be shipped out monthly while the unit is stateside and overseas.  She says the soldiers have some simple requests for goodies.

The collection will be processed by Adopt A Soldier Door County.  Bittorf suggests you add a note to your donation if you want it to go specifically to the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry unit.  Donations are being accepted at the  Egg Harbor Fire Station and Town Hall on County Road I in Sturgeon Bay and the Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire Station on Mill Road in Sister Bay.

Kewaunee County Sheriff reflects on Algoma Police management contract

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski has no regrets picking up and letting go of a management contract of the Algoma Police Department. The contract between the two departments concludes at the end of 2018 after five years of cooperation. Chief Deputy David Cornelius most recently handled the day-to-day operations of the Algoma Police Department, a job being handed over to newly sworn-in Chief Randy Remiker. Joski says it was an experiment that had its answer all along.




Joski says even though the contract with the city of Algoma may be ending, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department will continue its commitment to the safety and wellbeing for all of the communities it serves. You can read more from Sheriff Joski’s weekly piece online with this story.


At Monday night’s Algoma City Council meeting, the new Chief of Police was sworn in. This was the culmination of a great deal of effort on the part of the City to recruit the best possible candidate to lead the Algoma Police Department into the future. The gentleman’s name is Randy Remiker and I have no doubt they made the right choice. On behalf of our law enforcement community, we welcome Chief Remiker and look forward to working together to keep our communities safe. I would like to thank the officers of the Algoma Police Department for their flexibility and acceptance of change through it all. Additionally I would like to thank each and every one of them for the respect and courtesy they extended to my staff on a daily basis.

       I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of those members of the Sheriff’s Department who worked so diligently over the past five years in support of the management contract which we had with the City of Algoma. This agreement was a revolutionary approach to collaborative law enforcement relationships and was only possible through mutual respect and adherence to professional standards by all involved. I would like to thank the Administrative Assistants for the additional work they took on in processing and transcribing the many reports over the years. To the Investigators who were responsible for not only their existing cases, but to willingly reach out and investigate those major crimes which took place in the City of Algoma and lend their experience and professionalism to each and every task.

        A great deal of effort was given by the Lieutenants of my Command Staff over the years. First Lt. Chris Gulbrand along Lt. Joe Treml and more recently, Lt. Jason Veeser along with Lt. Chris VanErem. They were many times the first point of contact and source of guidance in the middle of the night or throughout the weekends and holidays. Their operational knowledge and ability to communicate appropriate and necessary action was crucial in the positive outcome of so many incidents.

        None of this collaboration would have been possible without the tireless efforts of Chief Deputy David Cornelius. Dave has been the hands on day to day manager of the department and served as the primary point of contact both internally as well as externally. He dedicated himself to the success of this relationship going above and beyond the expectations so as to successfully oversee the daily operations of the Police Department as well as keeping up with his duties here at the Sheriff’s Department. I relied on his perspective and knowledge of overall operations and was never let down. His leadership made the difference in establishing the community’s confidence in our ability to provide this service.


        And finally to the citizens of the city of Algoma; thank you for having faith in us five years ago.  Thank you for taking this journey through unchartered waters and supporting the many decisions along the way. While we may not be under contract any longer, please know that we remain committed to the safety and wellbeing of all communities throughout Kewaunee County and will always be there to support Chief of Police Randy Remiker and the members of the Algoma Police Department.

Kewaunee County Food Pantry selling Karsten Hotel furnishings


The former Karsten Hotel is under new ownership and that will benefit the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.  The new owner donated all the hotel's contents to the pantry rather than try to auction them off.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says starting Sunday, December 16th just about anything you can think of will be up for sale.



Also among the former Karsten Hotel items are a complete commercial kitchen equipment set valued at $16,000, which the pantry would like to sell as a complete set.  The sale starts at 11:00 AM at the Karsten property on Ellis Street in Kewaunee.

Schmitz met George Bush as president of Jaycees in 1987

A Forestville man had the unique opportunity to meet two U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush, as the state president of the Jaycee organization more than thirty years ago.  Phillip Schmitz, a member of the Sturgeon Bay Jaycees for 14 years, served as the state president for two years and recalls an eventful spring in 1987 including a White House visit.




Schmitz says Bush, who was then the vice-president under Ronald Reagan, came across as a class and genuine person.  He adds that at the time the magnitude of meeting two famous statesmen including a future president of the United States didn’t sink in until years later.  George H.W. Bush passed away November 30th at the age of 94.

Why be a criminal defense lawyer? Series on Careers

Attorney Nate Dineen was not ready to hit the real world when he decided to apply for law school, but it put him on the path to be one of Wisconsin’s top lawyers. Dineen currently practices family, real estate, personal injury, and criminal law as a partner of Vanden Heuvel and Dineen, S.C., which has offices in the Milwaukee, Fox Cities, and Door County areas. The nuances and specificity of some criminal law aspects attracted Dineen to the field, leading him to take advanced courses in standardized field sobriety and blood testing for drunk driving cases. Dineen says he never expected how much science he would use in his cases.



Named a Wisconsin Law Journal’s Up and Coming Super Lawyer in 2013, Dineen says his work is rewarding because of the help and expertise he is able to provide in a person’s darkest hours.

Preliminary discussion to be held regarding improvements to dog park

The Sturgeon Bay Parks and Recreation Committee will hold a discussion about possible improvements to the Shiloh Road Bark Park this Wednesday. The dog park is currently one of the most used parks in the city. Laurel Hauser, District 7 councilperson and chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, mentioned that the idea to improve the park came at their last meeting.



Possible improvements Hauser mentioned include adding a water source and a shade structure for the summer. Other items on Wednesday’s agenda include the consideration of a plan for an urban park on Egg Harbor Road and the consideration of the creation of an ad hoc committee on Sturgeon Bay beaches.

Airbnb forcing hotels to compete for rooms

According to one Door County hotel operator, the surge of Airbnb destinations in the area has put a strain on her business. Melaniejane, co-owner of The Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, said the hospitality and lodging service pulls business away during the winter months and forces her and her competitors to fight for what little customers are left. If left unchecked, Melaniejane said, the lack of business could have consequences most don’t think about.



Melaniejane mentioned that the rise of Airbnb in Door County has also made it harder for those seeking year-round residency to find a place to live. Declining to say Airbnb had no place in Door County, she said the service is most helpful to the community during the busiest times of the year when hotels are often fully booked

Ellison Bay pastor continues to learn about the community

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church Pastor Jim Honig continues to venture out into the community to learn about the place he now calls home. Honig came to the Ellison Bay church a year-and-a-half ago from Chicago’s western suburbs. He made a point of talking to church members on a one-on-one basis, a mission he has taken outside of his faith community. Honig says poverty and affordable housing in the area are two issues he believes not many people know about outside of Door County.



Church members including Honig at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church are looking at ways to address affordable housing options for year-round residents. 

Ugly Sweater 5K helps support the YMCA

Despite sub-freezing temperatures on Saturday, many brave men, women and children took their place at the start line to compete in the 3rd Annual Ugly Sweater 5K Run in Fish Creek. The Northern Door Program Center of the Door County YMCA puts on the event and puts all proceeds and registration fees toward their annual campaign. Megan Schneider, the Adult and Youth Program Coordinator at Northern Door, said the event has become quite popular throughout the community.



The run was not the only event of the day.  Santa Claus made an appearance, and a string quartet was also in attendance to play music inside as runners completed the race.

Door County Library allows visitors to look back to the past

The Door County Library is continuing to grow its collection of resources for those interested in the past. The Laurie History Room at the Sturgeon Bay branch offers many options for starting or continuing research, such as newspaper archives and city directories. Those interested in finding out more about their family’s history are also welcome to start their search at the library. Librarian Laura Kayacan said with the rise of connecting DNA to genealogy, there’s never been a better time to do your own research.



The library does have a couple of computers for visitors to use if they wish to access online resources. Some physical resources the library offers are not available for check out and must be used within library property.

Organization looking to increase local tobacco retail licensing costs

A local organization is taking a different approach to reduce youth smoking rates in Door County. Rather than enact new laws that punish youth for the purchase of tobacco, re:TH!NK is looking to persuade communities across the county to raise their local tobacco retail licensing costs. Currently, any location that sells tobacco products must obtain a license from the community where it is located. Cath Tease, coalition coordinator at re:TH!NK, said it's more important to educate and inform than enforce punitive laws.


Retail stores that currently sell tobacco products will need to renew their licenses next June. According to a press release sent out by re:TH!NK, all but one community in Door County have set their licensing fees within the $5-$25 range. The city of Sturgeon Bay is the lone exception, as it has chosen to enforce the maximum fee of $100.

Door County author announces fourth book

Fans of hunting stories will be excited to hear that a Door County author has announced his next book. Hans Feld, author of My Compass Points North, A Return to the North, and That's the Way it Yoosta Was, revealed his fourth book to be titled "Boiling Coffee and Wood Smoke". The books are intended for everyone, including those who might not read anything else. Feld explained how the new book got its title. 



The book is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2019. If any of Feld's books sell 300 copies, he said he will donate a third of the proceeds. You can find the full interview with Feld online on our Facebook page

Kewaunee County kids ready to Shop with a Cop

Fifteen kids from Algoma, Luxemburg, and Kewaunee will get a little extra help shopping for Christmas Saturday. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department hosts their annual Shop with a Cop program to help make the holidays brighter for area families. After a quick breakfast and a trip to Aissen Tree Farm to pick out an ornament, deputies take the kids on a $250 shopping spree to buy presents for their families before heading back to Luxemburg-Casco High School to wrap them. Deputy Rick Karman has volunteered with the event for over 10 years and says it is great to see the kids grow more comfortable with them throughout the day.



The Kewaunee County Shop with a Cop program is funded by donations from individuals and businesses throughout the area.

Algoma resident remembers meeting with George Bush

By Paul Schmitt


After a week of mourning President George H.W. Bush ended Thursday with his burial In Texas, one Algoma resident shares his brief encounter with the 41st President of the United States over twenty years ago.  Jim Rabas, co-owner of Algoma Motors, had the opportunity to meet Bush at an automobile convention in Puerto Rico in 1996.  He describes how he met the former President.





Rabas adds that Bush portrayed a lot of character and was very cordial during his brief meeting.  George Bush passed away at the age of 94 last Friday.


(Photo submitted, President Bush and Jim Rabas)

Hauser running for re-election to City Council

By Connor Harbit


District Seven Sturgeon Bay Council member Laurel Hauser has announced her intentions to run for re-election to the council. After defeating Joe McMahon in the 2017 election, Hauser will run for another two-year term. She has been involved with the Adoptive Parks program and was co-chair of the Ad hoc Westside Waterfront Planning Committee among other things. Hauser said she deserves re-election because she has been active in making the city a better place to live.





Potential candidates have until January 2nd to submit their nomination papers. Others who have announced their candidacy in Sturgeon Bay include David Ward, who is running for mayor, and Dan Williams, who is running in District 3. Gary Nault and incumbent Barb Allmann both took out nomination papers for District 5.

Sturgeon Bay woman charged with 16 felonies in church embezzlement

Chris Potter / CC


By Paul Schmitt


A former administrative assistant at the Christ the King Episcopal Church in Sturgeon Bay has been charged with 16 felony counts of forgery and theft.  According to the criminal complaint, Crystal J. Miller, 29, of Sturgeon Bay forged 15 checks totaling over $9,800 and stole over $1,000 in cash from the church.  Sturgeon Bay police officers responded to a fraud complaint on November 16 by church officials.  After meeting with the police, Miller confessed to forging the checks and stealing money in the last year to pay bills and debts.   If convicted, Miller faces up to six years of imprisonment and $10,000 in fines for each forgery charge and up to 10 years and $25,000 fine for theft.

2018 strong year for lakeshore businesses

Andrea Pokrzywinski / CC


By Tim Kowols


Business was as big as the fish caught by anglers for lakeshore communities like Kewaunee. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, fishing trip-related equipment sales generates $1.4 billion in direct expenditures alone. This also helps nearby businesses profit from visiting anglers exploring their communities. It was a great year for Accurate Marine owner and Wisconsin Lakeshore Business Association President Tom Kleiman as anglers from across the country kept his shop busy. He credits better lake management for the increase in activity.





Kleiman believes with the improved seawall and rebuilt launch ramps that Kewaunee could experience more growth in its fishing industry in 2019. The Wisconsin Lakeshore Business Association, which boasts members from Baileys Harbor to Kenosha, will host an interest-driven seminar this Saturday afternoon in Algoma.

Accomplished mystery author to hold meet-and-greet in Sturgeon Bay

Alan Levine / CC


By Connor Harbit


Patricia Skalka, an author whose mystery novels take place in Door County, will visit Sturgeon Bay Friday to hold an author reading and discussion event. The event will be held at Novel Bay Booksellers, and is a chance for fans of the series to meet the author and ask questions about Skalka’s inspiration or methods. A native of the Chicago area, Skalka said she chose Door County as the location for her series because the diversity allows for a lot of material.





Skalka’s novels center on Sheriff Dave Cubiak, a former Chicago cop who solves various murders and mysteries in Door County while trying to overcome his own personal problems as well. She said Cubiak works as a protagonist because the reader can see him as more than just a character in a book.





Skalka said her books have been well-received by residents of Door County. After her visit to Sturgeon Bay, she will also visit Algoma on Saturday for a similar event. Skalka’s next book, the fifth in her series, is scheduled for a Spring 2019 release.

Community hits all the right notes with Washington Island student

By Tim Kowols


The story of Washington Island student George Findlay’s “Opus One” being played by the community band started long before the conductor ever raised its baton. Findlay is just seven years old, but has already taken over a year of music classes thanks to the community’s generosity and support of the school. Findlay’s teacher, Donna Briesemeister, is funded by the Washington Island Music Festival. She says now is a great time for students to start developing their musical literacy.





His favorite music is rock and roll, but Findlay lists his classmates as his influences.  He says his first song started with just a few notes.





Briesemeister hopes other students learn from Findlay’s time in the spotlight as encouragement to write music of their own. Findlay says students should do it because it is fun.

New legislation could hamper early voting

Phil Roeder / CC


By Tim Kowols


New rules passed by the Wisconsin Legislature Wednesday morning could have a negative effect on absentee voting. Senate Bill 884 standardizes the absentee voting window to 14 days before an election statewide when municipalities were allowed to pick their own times before. Republicans say setting the limit promotes fairness across the state while Democrats believe it will hamper early voting both in person and through the mail. Jay Heck from Common Cause Wisconsin says the issue is likely going to court if Governor Scott Walker signs it into law.





Governor Walker will also consider bills passed by the Wisconsin Legislature to limit incoming Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s ability to make changes to its lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, the state’s voter identification law, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Sevastopol school board holding special meeting

By Connor Harbit


The Sevastopol school board hopes to catch up on updating policies with a special meeting to be held next week. On December 13th, the board will read through all 74 proposed policy changes. Sevastopol superintendent Kyle Luedtke said holding this meeting will allow for more discussion at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.





While some policies are simple word changes, others are new policies that will be introduced at the meeting, such as a whistleblower protection policy for teachers. There will also be some policies read that are currently up for deletion.

Ellison Bay gas leak brings back reminders

By Tim Kowols


A passerby in Ellison Bay may have prevented another gas leak explosion over 10 years after a similar event rocked the community. Last week, the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department was alerted to a residence near Mink River Road after getting reports of a strong gas smell in the area. Crews found the unoccupied home’s propane tank empty but the building itself full of gas. Much like the explosion twelve years earlier that killed two people and injured others, neighbors told firefighters they smelled a light passing odor, but did not say anything. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says the passerby that did say something helped prevent a lot of damage from occurring again.





Hecht reminds property owners to be alert to their own propane tanks to make sure they are functioning properly and to never be afraid to call 911 if they smell or see something suspicious.

Sturgeon Bay math team looking to make it 18 straight conference championships

By Connor Harbit


One year after finishing third in state competition, one of Sturgeon Bay High School’s most successful programs is back at practice gearing up for another run at the title. The math team completed yet another season on top of the Packerland Conference in 2017-2018, but they’ll need to work just as hard, if not harder, to claim championship number 18. Coach Cliff Wind says the team is more than ready for the challenge.





Some names that Wind mentioned as potential standouts include seniors Emily Tess and Michael Grahn. The Clippers begin their bid for the championship in just over a month when they travel to Oconto.

The Great Holiday Light Contest returns to Kewaunee County

By Paul Schmitt


Kewaunee County residents still have time to show off and register their creative, outdoor decorations for the 2nd annual Great Kewaunee County Holiday Light Contest.  The contest is sponsored by the three Kewaunee County chambers.  Algoma Area Chamber Executive Director Sara Krouse explains the easy way to register your holiday light display.



Krouse says you can also register by calling the Algoma Chamber.  Entries must be in by 5 pm Friday and online voting will then run from December 7 through December 20.  New this year, there will be winners from Luxemburg, Kewaunee, and Algoma areas with again one overall winner.  You can find more information on the Kewaunee County Great Holiday Light Contest with this story below.

Neighbor to Neighbor announces achievements and awards

By Connor Harbit


Ninety-four volunteers have contributed almost 3,000 hours of service in 2018 on behalf of Neighbor to Neighbor, a Door County organization that makes medical supplies and assistance available to those in need. The caregiving organization announced these achievements and gave out a couple of awards last week at their annual meeting at the Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay. Ann Bennett, the Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor, listed off a few of the services Neighbor to Neighbor provides to the community.





In addition to their achievements, the organization also announced two awards as well. The “Versatile Volunteer Award” was given to Dorothy Regner for assisting four clients in 2017 and eight more in 2018, while also volunteering for Rib Fest and grocery bagging as well. The “Lifetime of Service Award” was given to Colleen Crocker-MacMillin for her many years of dedication to various programs within Neighbor to Neighbor.

Washington Island restarting talks to deal with septic tank waste

By Terry Kovarik


Town of Washington Island leaders have restarted discussions on the best way to dispose of septic tank waste. Homes and businesses use septic tanks because there is no waste treatment system on the island. Some residents near a possible site where some waste would have been spread have filed an intent to sue should the town proceed with those plans. The town advisory committee met Tuesday night to discuss the available options for septic waste disposal. Town Chair Gordon Jaeger says the town has come up with a temporary solution for the winter.



The septic waste is being held in a 20,000-gallon storage tank awaiting transport for treatment in Sister Bay.

Running outdoors carries both pros and cons during winter

By Connor Harbit


According to one Door County running enthusiast, residents who are looking to get their daily exercise in this winter would be wise to consider the pros and cons of running indoors versus outdoors. Bob Richards, co-director of Run the Door, said that he prefers running outdoors, but realizes that it might not be the best choice for everyone. He said those interested or continuing to run this winter should consider their own personal health and what they want to get out of their time.





Richards, whose Run the Door program hosts a number of races in Door County throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons, also noted that those who like to run indoors might do so for a couple of reasons. They might do so because of the climate-controlled temperatures or the greater possibility for socializing with others. Richards recommends, if deciding to run outside, always running against traffic and wearing clothing that can be easily seen by others.

Door County Habitat for Humanity sets dedication date

By Tim Kowols


On December 20th, the Purdy family will officially have a new home thanks to Door County Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers were painting the home last week as it begins to put some of the finishing touches before other items start moving in. A late start finding a partner family, lining up contractors, and even weather made a pre-Christmas home dedication a close call. Door County Habitat for Humanity ReStore manager Megan Dietz is happy things are falling into place for the Purdy family.





The home dedication will take place at 2:30 p.m. at the build site at 827 N. 6th Place in Sturgeon Bay.


Lots of work this week! A dedicated group of volunteers spent 5 days painting, the rest of the crew joined them for the...

Posted by Door County Habitat for Humanity on Friday, November 30, 2018

Former Door County EMS Director runs for Sturgeon Bay City Council

By Terry Kovarik


Dan Williams, retired Director of the Door County Emergency Medical Service, is running for a seat on the Sturgeon Bay City Council. Williams began circulating petitions this week for the Third District seat now held by David J. Ward, who is running for Sturgeon Bay’s mayoral seat. Williams believes his extensive business background would benefit the council and Sturgeon Bay residents.



So far, Williams is the only candidate to take out nominating papers in the Third District.  No candidates have taken out petitions in the First District and the Seventh District.  Incumbent Fifth District council member Barbara  Allmann has taken out nominating papers.  She faces a challenge from Gary Nault.  All city council and mayoral candidates must have their petitions filed with the Sturgeon Bay City Clerk/Human Resources office by January 2nd.

Concessions to Bay Loft Apartment developer costing Sturgeon Bay

By Roger Utnehmer              

The Sturgeon Bay city council on Tuesday amended a development agreement with the owners of Bay Loft Apartments on Madison Avenue. In June of 2017, the city entered into an agreement in which the developer, Urban Apex of Madison, committed to a project they predicted would have an assessed value of $5 million.

Council Member David Ward explained why the project not reaching the $5 million commitment is a problem today.



The property was purchased by the developer from Thomas “Cap” Wulf. Wulf is a former member of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and Sturgeon Bay city council who pleaded no contest to charges of using his position of public trust for personal gain.


According to information provided by the City of Sturgeon Bay, if the development agreement were to be strictly followed the city share of tax revenues would have been $90,863 and Bay Lofts share would have been zero. Under the amendment approved by the council Tuesday, the city will receive $16,118 and the developer approximately $75,000. In one year, Ward hopes the assessed value of the property will reach the $5 million that was promised in the 2016 development agreement.


In a letter to City Administrator Josh VanLieshout, Urban Apex developer Christopher Laurent stated that “not returning 85 percent of our tax payment to retire our TIF note would be a tremendous financial burden to the property and certainly have a chilling effect on interest for further development in Sturgeon Bay.”


Ward told council members that there are potential legal problems because the agreement with the developer does not have language relating to an assessment of less than $5 million. The concession granted by the city of Sturgeon Bay is for one year.


Laurent concluded his letter to VanLieshout by stating, “We hope to quickly resolve this and continue to discuss other opportunities in your great city.”


You can hear a complete explanation by council member Ward here.





Sturgeon Bay council votes to settle Papke lawsuit

By Roger Utnehmer


A big check to developer Robert Papke could be in the mail soon. The Sturgeon Bay city council voted Tuesday to settle a lawsuit against the city filed by Papke over the development of a proposed west-side waterfront hotel. Papke sued the city in June of 2017 for $540,534 claiming the city was negligent for not informing him about concerns regarding the ordinary high water mark at the location of the proposed hotel he hoped to develop.


In a list of expenses, Papke claims $180,000 as “compensation to the developer for three years of work at the city’s request.”


The hotel project was blocked when Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront won a court challenge claiming the hotel would be located on former lakebed which must be held in trust for the public rather than private development.


The city council vote to settle Papke’s lawsuit requires his agreement before terms will be released to the public. The attorney representing Sturgeon Bay in settlement negotiations, James Kalny, suggested that agreement could be reached as early as today.

When Papke agrees to the proposed terms, Kalny said, details will be released.


Council member Kelly Catarozoli came out of closed session and moved to approve the agreement.



David Ward and Seth Wiederanders voted against the settlement. Ward stated the reason for his opposition.



You can read more about the history of the west-side waterfront hotel litigation by using the SEARCH link at and entering Papke.

Gibraltar celebrates Christmas at the historic Noble House

By Jonathan Bregman

Christmas kicks off in Fish Creek with the annual tree lighting and caroling event at the historic Noble House Museum.  Laurie Buske, the director of the Gibraltar Historical Association, described some of the activities that will be available at the event.





The Christmas celebration will take place this Saturday, December 8 at 5:00 PM at the Noble House on Main Street in Fish Creek.

U.S and China tariffs uncertainty cause a struggle for local farmers and manufacturers

reynermedia CC


By Terry Kovarik


Local farmers and manufacturers are struggling to understand the uncertainty of trade friction between the U.S. and China. The stock market lost nearly 800-points Tuesday after investors realized that tariffs already levied would remain in place. Jim Schuessler, Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation, says that leaves local business owners and farmers uncertain about how they should plan.



Schuessler says some dairy products producers have seen their stock prices drop to some previously unseen levels.

Town of Liberty Grove board considers next step in Gills Rock property purchase

By Terry Kovarik


Town of Liberty Grove Board members will consider the next step in the acquisition of three properties in Gills Rock, including 440-feet of shoreline. Town electors approved the $1.45-million dollar purchase back in October. At the board’s regular meeting Wednesday evening, they’ll consider a resolution to sell a $1.5-million dollar promissory note through Robert Baird to fund the purchase. Town Administrator Bud Kalms says Baird’s representative will spell out the details of the loan and bring the purchase closing close to an end.



If all goes according to plan, Kalms hopes the town will have the money in hand by year’s end to complete the purchase. The town board meets at 6:45 Wednesday night in the Town Hall on Old Stage Road in Sister Bay.

Churches looking toward social media to expand reach

By Connor Harbit


Some Sturgeon Bay churches have at least partially turned to social media to increase their reach and create growth opportunities. Using primarily Facebook and personalized apps, the church can hold a community together like never before. Cory Dahl, the lead pastor at First Baptist Church in Sturgeon Bay, said he occasionally boosts a post or two on Facebook to alert his community about upcoming events.





The practices seem to be working. Shannon Souther, the lead pastor at Sturgeon Bay Community Church, said his church has seen an increase in activity as his congregation drifts toward the younger side of things.





Souther, whose church is one of the largest in Sturgeon Bay, also mentioned that his congregation uses Instagram and Vimeo to reach the public outside of normal service hours as well, although some of the senior pastors still decline to post on any platform.

Maintenance key to keeping furnace working all winter

By Tim Kowols


Making sure your furnace is prepared for extreme cold snaps is important to the unit’s lifespan according to Ultimate Air owner Jeff Blemke. According to American home services Web site, 75 percent of no heat calls in the winter can be attributed to a lack of maintenance. Yearly inspections can also spot signs of problems like possible carbon monoxide leaks. Blemke says something as simple as the furnace’s filter could be the difference between a warm house and a frigid one.





During periods of extreme cold, Blemke recommends people keep a consistent temperature with their thermostat rather than programming heat for certain parts of the day. The constant powering up and down could add additional stress to the unit.

Jacksonport Polar Bear Club hoping for better weather

By Tim Kowols


There is not a whole lot it can do until the day or two before its signature event, but the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club is hoping for better weather than last year. Dozens of swimmers took the plunge last New Year’s Day on a challenging afternoon that saw water temperatures just above freezing and wind chills between -15 and -20. Jacksonport Polar Bear Club member Jon Jarosh says there are things to learn even after 30 years of hosting the event.





Swimmers still have about a month to train for this year’s event, which takes place at Lakeside Park in Jacksonport at noon on New Year’s Day.




Options for Fish Creek beach Bio-filter system to be unveiled


By Terry Kovarik


Town of Gibraltar residents can learn more about planned beach improvements including options for a Bio-filter system. Those options by Short, Elliott, Hendrickson, the planning firm on the beach projects, will be outlined when the town board meets in regular session Wednesday night. Town of Gibraltar Chair Richard Skare says this will be a chance for the board and the community to see what can be done to protect the bay from storm runoff.



Designers will also update plans for a new beach bathhouse and other projects. The meeting will take place at 7:00 Wednesday evening in the Gibraltar Town Center on Highway 42 in Fish Creek.

Possible Sturgeon Bay church embezzlement case now before the D.A.

Scott Davidson / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The Door County District Attorney’s Office says charges could come by week’s end in an alleged case of fraud at a Sturgeon Bay Church. The church contacted Sturgeon Bay Police last month after learning that many checks were written without consent over the past year. They were written to a variety of businesses for high dollar amounts. Police learned there were also fraudulent credit card purchases and some cash was also stolen.

Investigators say all of the fraudulent transactions added up to over $11,000. The suspect is a Sturgeon Bay woman formerly employed by the church as an Administrative Assistant. The investigation was turned over to the Door County District Attorney’s Office requesting charges of felony forgery and felony theft. A criminal complaint with the suspect’s name and the church involved are expected to be issued no later than Friday.

Major roadwork being planned for Kewaunee County

By Tim Kowols


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is setting the stage for a major road construction project in  Kewaunee County with a meeting next week. Tentatively scheduled to start in 2021, State Highway 42 will be resurfaced from the Kewaunee County/Manitowoc County line to just south of Kewaunee city limits. Other improvements scheduled to take place during the project include the replacement of beam guards and two box culverts and spot grading. Mark Kantola from the DOT says the project could even be moved up to 2020.





The meeting will take place on December 13th at the Carlton Town Hall from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. with a short presentation taking place at 5:45.

Sturgeon Bay public works projects finished 2018 within their budgets

By Terry Kovarik


Road improvements and other public works projects in Sturgeon Bay overall finished 2018 within budget. That’s the assessment of City Engineer Chad Shefchik. He says some projects came in under budget and that offset others that went slightly over budget.



Shefchik and his staff are currently developing a public works budget for 2019 projects. He says details should be released in the next two weeks.

Door County bed and breakfast inns are popular post-Christmas getaways

By Terry Kovarik


Door County bed and breakfast inns remain popular well after the peak tourism season has ended and as the New Year approaches. Dennis Statz, co-owner of Sturgeon Bay’s White Lace Inn, says the days between Christmas and January 1st will be busy. He says some people are just looking to take a quiet break from the holidays.



Kelly Catarozoli, owner of the Foxglove Inn in Sturgeon Bay, is also seeing a post-Christmas boost in bookings. She says her b-and-b guests like the amenities that are tailor-made for their needs.



And with occupancy rates at 50-percent or more during the days after Christmas, bed and breakfast operators say it’s a nice way to end their business years.

New owners planning upgrades at Fish Creek Campground


By Terry Kovarik


Fish Creek Campground will be sporting some new amenities in 2019. The longtime tent and RV campground came under new ownership last month. Cary and Cheri Lauritzen and their family are long-time campers who’ve wanted to own and manage a campground. Cheri Lauritzen says their plans will offer new services and camping options.



Fish Creek Campground is the Lauritzen’s first venture into campground ownership. They’re also working to develop a 131-site RV campground in Jacksonport.

New town hall in Jacksonport should be ready by Christmas

By Terry Kovarik


The Town of Jacksonport will get what it has long needed by Christmas Day: more working room for the fire department and town officials. Interior construction work is finishing up on the new town hall and new furniture is expected to arrive soon. Town Chairman Randy Halstead says the building will allow town employees to better serve taxpayers.



The opening of the new Town of Jacksonport town hall will give Zion Lutheran Church some extra space again. The town moved some offices into the church during construction.

Sturgeon Bay to review consultants for westside waterfront development ideas

By Terry Kovarik


Sturgeon Bay’s Ad-hoc Westside Waterfront Planning Committee will be looking for some outside help to develop a public use plan. The committee will review bids from five consulting groups. Committee Chair Laurel Hauser says the bidders will help the city gauge public opinion and define uses for the waterfront property.



Hauser says the Ad-hoc Westside Waterfront Planning Committee will consider the five bidders when it meets again December 13 at Sturgeon Bay City Hall on Michigan Street.

Winter weather delays work on Washington Island electric cable

By Terry Kovarik


Windy, wintry weather is delaying work on the final portion of the new Washington Island electrical power line. Cable for the final link between Washington Island, Plum Island and Northport was expected to be transported from Sturgeon Bay to Washington Island over the weekend. Washington Island Electric Cooperative Manager Robert Cornell says wind conditions have become too treacherous to sail.




Cornell says once the spools of cable can be safely shipped the next steps will involve connecting the cables to submerged conduits near Northport, at Plum Island and near Washington Island. He says that will take about two days to accomplish, depending on the weather.

NEW Industries still growing despite slow hiring

By Tim Kowols


Sturgeon Bay’s NEW Industries is doing more with less than they would like. Despite the need of 30 to 40 more workers to be considered to be fully staffed, NEW Industries is having another record year with more than a 30 percent increase in volume expected by the end of 2018. Things are also looking good for 2019 for NEW Industries and the companies they manufacture component parts for across several different market segments. Owner Chris Moore says there are a number of factors playing into their success and other manufacturers as well.





A new overtime system, some outsourcing, new technology, and an increase in net employment have helped NEW Industries keep pace for their customers. The Door County Economic Development Corporation hosted its annual Manufacturing Day last month to make a concerted effort to fill some of the 400 total local positions in the field.

Seasonal workers feel the pinch at the holidays

By Tim Kowols


For many seasonal workers in Door and Kewaunee counties, Christmas is a bad time to be going with small or no paychecks. Seasonal workers are forced to stretch their summer dollars out farther than anticipated depending on if they can get a winter job or qualify for unemployment. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says the uncertainty makes it hard to determine their monthly spending plan.



Pustaver says employees new to seasonal work should seek financial counseling to get a handle on how to properly budget during their “off time” of a year. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.






Ward running for Sturgeon Bay mayor

By Tim Kowols


District Three Sturgeon Bay Council member David Ward will run for mayor after filing his candidacy papers Monday morning. An economist and a former interim chancellor for two University of Wisconsin campuses, Ward was first appointed to the District 3 seat before winning a full term in 2017. He is the current chairperson of the city’s finance and purchasing committee and led efforts to find a solution to Sturgeon Bay’s road funding woes. Ward believes he has the experience to be a good mayor.





Ward and other candidates have until January 2nd to submit their nomination papers. As of 10:30 a.m. Monday, no nomination papers had been taken out in Algoma and Kewaunee. In Sturgeon Bay, Dan Williams took out nomination papers for District 3 and incumbent alderperson Barb Allmann began circulating for District 5.

City of Algoma to swear in new police chief

By Tim Kowols


The Monday night swearing-in ceremony at the Algoma City Council meeting will be an official welcome home for Randy Remiker. The new Algoma Police Chief comes from the Albuquerque Police Department after serving as its deputy chief. He originally hailed from nearby Denmark, Wisconsin. A future colonel in the Army National Guard, Algoma city administrator Jeff Wiswell expects Remiker will be a good fit in the community.





Wiswell says 25 people applied for the open position when the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department opted to end its contract with the city back in August. Remiker’s first day as the city’s top cop will be January 1st, 2019.

Coast Guard predecessor highlights upcoming Maritime Speaker Series presentation

By Tim Kowols


Northern Michigan University’s Frederick Stonehouse will take attendees of Thursday’s Maritime Speaker Series event back to a time when Sturgeon Bay could have been known as Wisconsin’s U.S. Lifesaving Service City. Prior to the introduction of the current U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Lifesaving Service had posts scattered throughout the Great Lakes region, including several along Door County’s coasts. As their duties grew, the U.S. Lifesaving Service was replaced by the Coast Guard in 1915 after over 40 years of service.  Their unofficial motto of “regulations say we have to go out, they say nothing about coming back” is something that really sticks out to Stonehouse.





Stonehouse will give his presentation on the U.S. Lifesaving Service at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay beginning at 7 p.m.

Area DNR warden says changes in hunting techniques improve safety

By Terry Kovarik


An area conservation warden says hunters are doing good work in making Wisconsin’s firearms deer hunting season much safer. Only three non-fatal hunting accidents were recorded during the recent nine-day hunt. Chris Kratcha, a Department of Natural Resources warden in Sturgeon Bay, says hunters have adopted techniques that make for more effective and safe hunting.



The DNR also says mandatory hunter safety programs appear to be paying off in fewer injuries and fatalities.

Door County Land Trust looking for new members in December

By Terry Kovarik


The Door County Land Trust wants to boost its membership and preserve new areas of the county from development. It’s running the Become a Member in December campaign through the end of the year. Development Director Cinnamon Rossman says membership is very easy to obtain and will help the trust with some New Year’s resolutions.



For more information on membership with the Door County Land Trust, click here.

Washington Island businesses get a breath after a busy six-months

By Terry Kovarik


Joel Gunlauggson is looking forward to Christmas because it means he and his wife can take a bit of breather from their Washington Island motel business. The end of the nine-day gun deer hunt, Thanksgiving and the fall color season marks the end of what has been a very hectic year for Washington Island businesses. Gunlauggson says customer traffic picked up in spring and never let up.



Gunlauggson expects the lull to last into February when the ice fishing season and the tournaments it brings starts up. Until then, they’ll be hosting snowmobilers and cross-country skiers.

Common Cause calls GOP power grab a slap at local voters and taxpayers

Phil Roeder / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The head of Common Cause in Wisconsin says local voters need to call out Republican legislative leaders on their efforts to try and limit the powers of Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. That effort will start with a special legislative session this Tuesday. Common Cause Executive Director Jay Heck says it’s clear the GOP leadership is putting its interests ahead of voters.



The special legislative session would also consider changes to early voting and rescheduling Wisconsin’s 2020 primary to favor a conservative state supreme court justice. Heck says such moves are costly to taxpayers, in the end.



A similar effort by North Carolina’s legislature was overturned in court after costly litigation.

Guess how many books are in the Ephraim library Christmas tree and win prizes

By Terry Kovarik

The Door County Library’s Ephraim branch is once again decked out with its Christmas tree made completely of books. Youth Services Librarian Beth Lokken says one lucky visitor to the library over the holiday can pick up some gifts to ring in 2019.



The correct winner will be named January 2, 2019.

Kewaunee County dairy farms are holding their own as others statewide close

Chris Waits / CC


By Terry Kovarik


Kewaunee County dairy farmers are bucking the trend of farm closures. Wisconsin has already seen nearly 500 dairy farms close down this year due to factors including lower milk prices and higher production costs. Kewaunee County U-W Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says she’s not seeing clients on the brink of closure because they tend to be a bit more prudent.



Bjurstrom says the new Canada-U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement will benefit local dairy farms, though the results will likely come later in 2019

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse

By Roger Utnehmer


Sore losers and lame ducks are about to try to steal a Supreme Court seat, restrict voting in Wisconsin and subvert the will of the people expressed in the elections of Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.


Republican legislative leaders are attempting to take power away from Evers and Kaul, rig the 2020 Supreme Court race to favor a conservative justice and make it more difficult for Wisconsin citizens to vote. The special legislative session starting Tuesday should be repudiated as the unconstitutional power grab that it is.


Legislative leaders have stated publicly that spending $7 million of taxpayer money to move a Supreme Court election to March will benefit their conservative candidate. Combined with their effort to further restrict absentee voting, Republican legislators are shamefully making it more difficult for people to vote. Democracy is better served when more people participate in the process, not less.


Restricting the power of a newly-elected governor as Republicans propose reeks of being sore losers. The same kind of power grab in North Carolina was ruled unconstitutional.


The special legislative session should be canceled. Legislators need to respect the will of the people who elected Evers and Kaul.

And at the very least they should leave legislating to regular sessions when the process is transparent and deliberative.


That’s my opinion. I’d like to hear yours.

Door County boosting the use of salt brine on icy roads

Michael Pereckas / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The Door County Highway Department will be expanding the use of salt brine on roadways during wintry weather. The solution combines water, salt and other chemicals. The mixture has grown in popularity among Wisconsin counties because of its effectiveness and economic benefits. Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says salt brine has been very effective in the early stages of winter storms.



The use of brine helps counties save money when buying salt in preparation for upcoming winter driving seasons.

Area wartime veterans may have a pension coming to them

By Terry Kovarik


Veterans who served in wartime and are in a pinch may have money due them that they didn’t know about. The V-A’s Wartime Veterans and Surviving Spouse Pension program can provide needed funds to veterans and their families. KprovideCounty Veterans Services Officer Jane Babcock says it’s a benefit that few vets know is available to them.



Babcock says veterans or their survivors can learn more about the pension by contacting Veterans Services Offices on Lincoln Street in Kewaunee or on Nebraska Street in Sturgeon Bay.

Christmas in the community with YMCA trees

By Delilah Rose — Student Corrrespondent


With Christmas just a few weeks away, it’s time to put up your Christmas trees. Supporting a valuable cornerstone in our community, the Sturgeon Bay YMCA tree sale is the place to go for tree hunting. All of the contributions to go the YMCA’s program funding. Youth in these programs use this funding for trips, scholarships, volunteering, donations and more. With sharing the holiday spirit at the YMCA, our tight-knit community strengthens. One of the YMCA’s core values of caring is in full swing and it’s not too late to contribute. Stop by the Y to pick up your Christmas tree and see more of what this small fund can do for Sturgeon Bay.

Santa Claus visits the Door County Maritime Museum

By Connor Harbit

The Door County Maritime Museum hosted their “Santa on the Tugboat” event Saturday, giving young children a chance to set foot on the historic John Purves tugboat and watch for Santa Claus. Escorted in by the Coast Guard, Santa waved to the children as he arrived before being dropped off onto the tugboat so he could meet the children up close. Carrie Dorski, the Community Engagement Manager of the Door County Maritime Museum, organized the event. She said that while the kids could meet Santa Claus, many of them might take the time to visit the museum for the first time as well.





The event ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with guests partaking in several other activities such as letter writing, ornament and card-making and holiday movies.

TJ Walker students' Peter Pan musical starts Tuesday

By Paul Schmitt


Sturgeon Bay Allied Arts students from TJ Walker Middle School will be putting on their version of Peter Pan starting on Tuesday.  The classic story of a boy who never grew up will be performed on stage at the Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium.  Choir Director Amber Spude says the popular musical will be a good challenge to her students.  She says the audience will also be impressed with the dancing.



You can find ticket information and the five scheduled performances of Peter Pan JR. including Tuesday’s special free performance for senior citizens with this story below.


TJ Walker Allied Arts in Sturgeon Bay will hold a special free performance of Peter Pan JR.. for senior citizens on December 4 at 10:30 am.  A free luncheon, hosted by the Student Council, will follow the show.  Performances for local schools will be held on December 5 at 9:00 am and December 6 at 12:30 pm, and December 7 at 9:00 am.  The public performance of Peter Pan JR. will be on December 7 at 7:00 pm.  All performances will be at the  Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the SBHS auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm on Friday, December 7.  For more information, please call/email Amber Spude at 746-5753 or


Senior Citizen Performance- December 4th 10:30 AM
Elementary Performance- December 5th 9:00 AM

Elementary Performance- December 6th 12:30 PM

Middle School Performance- December 7th 9:00 AM

Public Performance- December 7th 7:00 PM


(photo submitted)

Door County Sheriff-elect leading program to give back to kids this holiday season

By Connor Harbit


Door County Sheriff-elect Tammy Sternard will once again lead her annual “Chop and Shop with a Cop” program on December 8th. The program, now entering its 16th year, sees cooperation between the sheriff’s office, the Sturgeon Bay Police Department, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Local youth are paired off with cops and spend the day doing various activities to help spread holiday cheer, such as chopping down a Christmas tree or going shopping for winter clothes. They also pick out gifts for the child and their family. The day ends with a pizza and gift wrapping party before the family of each child is sent home with a full Christmas meal. Sternard said the program is a good way to communicate with youth outside of a job-like setting.





Sternard said that around 30 families are usually selected and the sheriff’s office works closely with Door County schools to identify which kids would benefit most from the program.

Setting health goals important as winter settles in

By Kaila Stencil, Food WIse Nutrition Educator Kewaunee County


Winter is right around the corner.  The temperatures have dropped and the darkness seems to occupy most of the hours of the day (not really, but it sure feels like it!).  If you are anything like me this is the time of the year that I begin to lose motivation when it comes to eating healthy and being active.  Let’s make this year different.  This is the year that you achieve your health goals! I’m going to give you three tips to help you.


  1. Find a friend to help you with your goals. You have probably heard this before but I’m going to tell you again because its so important.  Find a friend to exercise with.  Set a schedule and stick to it!  Be an accountable exercise partner and show up even when exercise is the last thing you want to do.  Share recipes with each other to find healthy dishes that taste delicious!
  2. Start small and work your way up. Don’t start with the hardest workout you could pick.  You will likely give it up quickly.  Start with a less difficult exercise and add in more difficult things as you continue to exercise.
  3. Start before the New Year!!! Don’t let the holidays be an excuse for you to delay your health goals.  You will feel so much better when the New Year comes around and you already have a jump on your new habits.

New director to lead Peninsula Symphonic Band's holiday concert

By Paul Schmitt


Jason Palmer will conduct his first, holiday concert next Thursday as the new director of the Peninsula Symphonic band. Paula Eggert stepped down as the director in June after 14 years and Palmer took over the reins for the Fourth of July concert performance.   He shares his recent background in music.





Palmer and his wife Jamie are retired and returned to Door County in June after living in Illinois for five years.  He is also an organist at Bayview Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay.  Thursday’s Peninsula Symphonic Band’s holiday concert is free to the public and will begin at 7 pm at Prince of Peace Church in Sturgeon Bay.

Red Ribbon-wearing encouraged for World AIDS Day

By Delilah Rose — Student Correspondent


Established in 1988, this day of global awareness, that recognizes AIDS day as the first global health day to be founded. This day gives people all over the opportunity to acknowledge, unit, and fight against HIV. Many Show support to people living with AIDS and commemorating those who have died from this chronic disease.


In 2018, 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. With medical advances, people are living longer and safer. Educating yourself on AIDS brings us one step closer to successfully fighting HIV. Building awareness locally is the most important thing.


You can wear a red ribbon to show your support on World AIDS Day. #ROCKTHEREDRIBBON


To learn and find more ways to fight AIDS/HIV, you can go to the national AIDS website:

The green benefits of having a live Christmas tree

Steven Depolo / CC


By Paul Schmitt


As households debate the merits of having either a real or artificial Christmas trees this holiday season, local environmentalists are taunting statistics that support going live.  According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, an artificial tree is used for seven years on average before being disposed of, while remaining in a landfill indefinitely.  Wayne Kudick, an environmental advocate from Fish Creek, makes the case for a live Christmas tree from a green perspective.





You can find tips on selecting and keeping live trees fresh and safe below.

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